The Observation Principle

By Peter Halstead

The light that leaves the woods,
That winds the leaves in wooden
Shade and lightens trees
With evening wind, leaves us too,

Us two leaning up against the wounds
Of last night's storm, wound
Tight and lean as roots around
The summer crop of fungus, glen,

And fern, bound like books
In apples’ smell of stems:
Not that night in turn
Couldn't hold us still and spellbound

On the summer sheets,
Couldn't stem the tide
Of seasons on the ground
With repeats of fireflies,

Its dots of ink-like rain, the growl
Of thunder in our midst,
Growing as we fade away,
Heat lighting

The inevitable downpour:
If night falls in the forest,
Who says we alone should
Mourn, we, the eyes of all

The world, with certain rights
To leave a thing alone
Or let it lie the way it fell?
We get it backward in the nights:

Blindness doesn’t leave us
Stripped of feelings, touch, or sight:
Pure light never leaves us
As much as we ourselves leave light.

1985
September 17th, 2008