Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

In A Light Time


The alder shudders in the April winds
off the moon. No one is awake and yet
sunlight streams across
the hundred still beds
of the public wards
for children. At ten
do we truly sleep
in a blessed sleep
guarded by angels
and social workers?
Do we dream of gold
found in secret trunks
in familiar rooms?
Do we talk to cats
and dogs? I think not.
I think when I was
ten I was almost
an adult, slightly
less sentimental
than now and better
with figures. No one
could force me to cry,
nothing could convince
me of God's concern
for America
much less the fall of
a sparrow. I spit
into the wind, even
on mornings like this,
the air clear, the sky
utterly silent,
the fresh light flooding
across bed after
bed as though something
were reaching blindly --
for we are blindest
in sunlight -- for hands
to take and eyelids
to caress and bless
before they open
to the alder gone
still and the winds hushed,
before the children
waken separately
into their childhoods.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Read poems about / on: america, april, children, sleep, moon, dream, wind, sky, light, god, time, dog, cat, child, angel

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