At the miracle of the coming light...
by Charles Simic
Enter without knocking, hard-working ant.
I'm just sitting here mulling over
What to do this dark, overcast day?
It was a night of the radio turned down low,
Fitful sleep, vague, troubling dreams.
I woke up lovesick and confused.
I thought I heard Estella in the garden singing
And some bird answering her,
But it was the rain. Dark tree tops swaying
And whispering. "Come to me my desire,'
I said. And she came to me by and by,
Her breath smelling of mint, her tongue
Wetting my cheek, and then she vanished.
Slowly day came, a gray streak of daylight
To bathe my hands and face in.
Hours passed, and then you crawled
Under the door, and stopped before me.
You visit the same tailors the mourners do,
Mr. Ant. I like the silence between us,
The quiet- that holy state even the rain
Knows about. Listen to her begin to fall,
As if with eyes closed,
Muting each drop in her wild-beating heart.
The Supreme Moment
As an ant is powerless
Against a raised boot,
And only has an instant
To have a bright idea or two.
The black boot so polished,
He can see himself
Reflected in it, distorted,
Perhaps made larger
Into a huge monster ant
Shaking his arms and legs
The boot may be hesitating,
Demurring, having misgivings,
Yes, and apparently no.
My beloved, you who spend your nights
By holding up one mirror after another
To me in the dark,
If there's anything I know to say or do today,
I merit no praise for it,
But owe it to the subtlety of your torments,
And your perseverance in keeping me awake.
All the same, who gave you the right
To judge me in my wretchedness?
What soul white as snow
Compiled this endless list of misdeeds
You read to me every night?
The airs you put on when I tell you to stop
Would make one believe
You were once a bedmate of a Chinese emperor.
I like it best when we do not say a word.
When we lie side by side
Like two lovers after their passion is spent.
Once again, day is breaking.
A small bird in the trees is pouring her heart out
At the miracle of the coming light.
The beauty of a night spent sleepless.