Two poems with fireflies. I'm going to learn them both to feel how they are different even though both poets used
the light of fireflies as part of their imagery.
In the dry summer field at nightfall,
fireflies rise like sparks.
Imagine the presence of ghosts
flickering, the ghosts of young friends,
your father nearest in the distance.
This time they carry no sorrow,
no remorse, their presence is so light.
Childhood comes to you,
memories of your street in lamplight,
holding those last moments before bed,
with a blossom of the hand
letting them go. Lightness returns,
an airy motion over the ground
you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.
If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies
again, not part of your stories,
as unaware of you as sleep, being
beautiful and quiet all around you.
"Fireflies" by Marilyn Kallet, from Packing Light: New and Selected Poems. © Black Widow Press, 2009
- - - - - - - -
Sometimes, out of nowhere, it comes back,
that night when, driving home from the city,
having left the nearest streetlight miles behind us,
we lost our way on the back country roads
and found, when we slowed down to read a road sign,
a field alive with the blinking of fireflies,
and we got out and stood there in the darkness,
amazed at their numbers, their scattered sparks
igniting silently in a randomness
that somehow added up to a marvel
both earthly and celestial, the sky
brought down to earth, and brought to life,
a sublunar starscape whose shifting constellations
were a small gift of unexpected astonishment,
luminous signalings leading us away
from thoughts of where we were going
or coming from, the cares that often drive us
relentlessly onward and blind us
to such flickering intervals when moments
are released from their rigid sequence
and burn like airborne embers, floating free.
"Interval" by Jeffrey Harrison, from Feeding the Fire. © Sarabande Books, 2001.