"In Spite of Everything, The Stars"

Like a stunned piano, like a bucket

of fresh milk flung into the air
or a dozen fists of confetti
thrown hard at a bride
stepping down from the altar,
the stars surprise the sky.
Think of dazed stones
floating overhead, or an ocean
of starfish hung up to dry. Yes,
like a conductor's expectant arm
about to lift toward the chorus,
or a juggler's plates defying gravity,
or a hundred fastballs fired at once
and freezing in midair, the stars
startle the sky over the city.

And that's why drunks leaning up
against abandoned buildings, women
hurrying home on deserted side streets,
policemen turning blind corners, and
even thieves stepping from alleys
all stare up at once. Why else do
sleepwalkers move toward the windows,
or old men drag flimsy lawn chairs
onto fire escapes, or hardened criminals
press sad foreheads to steel bars?
Because the night is alive with lamps!
That's why in dark houses all over the city
dreams stir in the pillows, a million
plumes of breath rise into the sky.

-- by Edward Hirsch, 
from Wild Gratitude, 1992.


  1. Beautiful poetry, thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, beautiful. Thank you so much for brightening my day with these words. I look forward to some of you own soon....

  3. Absolutely splendid. Sometimes, of course, the stars come down to flicker among us - are your lightning bugs out yet? When I was the age to catch them and put them in the peanut butter jar with holes in the lid, they always disappeared in the middle of the night. Mother told me that fairies had come and set them free, and they'd gone back to live in the sky.

    1. Oh, the lightning bugs! June is their month of revelry, and I anticipate their arrival every year. One of my first posts on this blog was about a very magical experience in their midst -- "Bioluminescence." Thank you for sharing your memory!

  4. What a lovely poem you've shared! Thank you for this.

  5. Oh how beautiful and vivid ... thank you for sharing that :-)

  6. Now that's GREAT poetry! Really moves me. Thanks!!!

    1. Yes: something I would read aloud while standing under the night sky.


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