The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 21-JAN 22

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DEC 21-JAN 22 Issue
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And They Dimmed the Sun

Look darling, I’m already having enough difficulty figuring out life with COVID,
life with no sun I’ll deal with next year.

She laughed.

And then she whispered, please listen.

The Sun and the Earth
They never said, you owe me, you hurt me.
Their love—their splendor—lights the skies.

                                                       Can you see the sky?
Spirit courses through it.
Green, midnight blue, gold, magenta.
An immensity of awe.
Dancing, with hands held in a circle,
up at the edge of the Earth,
where Beauty watches over us.

I could never imagine such a wonder.
Starlight? Starlings?
Swoooop—a murmuration of starlings, starlight.
Time falls away
to sound like morning
                                                       Come dance with me.

Daedalus designed the first dance floor.
What could he not invent?
Daedalus created the means for their escape, for their freedom.
But maybe the punishment was just.
He couldn’t gild the stars.
And he could not abide that someone else could.
                                                       Aurora? She was only the messenger
                                                       —Greeting us at dark to announce the light.

Jealousy. Murder.
Daedalus was banished. Imprisoned. With his son.

From the tower he watched the birds.
He saw the flight patterns to freedom.
With an intake of breath off they went,
like birds beating their wings.
Icarus ignored the word of his father.
He flew too close to the sun, and his wings—

Go, said the bird.
Go, go, go.
Across the valleys towards the majesty of the Beloved
reflected in the Sun.

The birds convened.
Their heads bowed in distress.
Human kind, what have you done?
O Spirit forsaken.
They knew our faults:
Life played with a mask of right.
And we ate all the plums
without a note of apology,
without the laughter of love.

The poets sing the song of humanity—of our freedom, of our love, of our survival.
Of the plums iced in the fridge, delighting us.
                                                       I would have saved the plums for you, my love.
Of the splendor of the Sun bathing the Earth.
And the Earth singing to her beloved.

How can we call Daedalus an artist?
His became the story of Icarus.
There is no genius. The Muses gather
and we share from the Divine.
Perhaps it’s too simple. But
The deception remains, while Beauty was asked to leave
precipitating the fall.

She whispered,
                                                       The one who encounters Beauty grows wings.

She laughed,
                                                       Do you feel their softness?

Afterwards, grimly.

The experiment would take place far away
A dance with the Aurora Borealis.
[Meaning to extinguish. Death always arrives in brackets.]

A conference of elders
The Sámi give voice to the Earth.
Issuing a writ from the chancery:
This is not how we revere the Earth or the skies.
A moral hazard or uncontrollable termination—
Without permission you choose our lands.
Why not yours?
The Harvard scientists explain: Only chalk dust.
The elders bow their heads.
The magnificence of our Winter’s tale.
Heralding birth.
A nuclear winter to make frigid our Sun
and ruin our Earth.

No wasn’t enough.
How many centuries of treaties?
Only a promise of betrayal.
They come back—Always.
To rape the Moon,
To steal the stars, the Sun, the Earth,
—and those plums.

Those ten scientists furious over their right to experiment
with the dimming of the Sun.
Without a global conversation, let alone accord—
Each single being touched.
Will the starlight and skylarks still murmur? Or their birdsong ever stopped?
We can’t even dam a river; how can we dim the Sun?

The Earth is lighted by a brilliant halo.
They take their knife to such a love that lights the skies.
The poet who sang of the Sun in flight, implored,
Do not go gentle into the night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                                                       I can’t see the dance, darling.

                                                       Where are you? I can hear your whispers.
                                                       Where are you? I can’t hear your whispers.


  1. “How the Saami Indigenous People Fended Off Gates-funded Geoengineering Experiment” by Patrick Mazza


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 21-JAN 22

All Issues