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Northern Lights

February 03, 1991

By W. S. Di PIERO

Unhurt but still cheerless, alert

on our green terrace to promise or grievance,

waiting for a sign from the sky,

a bestowal, or intelligence vouchsafed

--that we could love

without loss, or that love could save

time spent loving--

we watched the swallows' tumbling flight,

twilight's leafy dust trembling

behind the chopped medieval towers.

From what we wanted then

I should have known that years later,

now long apart, the unpained unhappiness

would come back, again on high,

in the streaked light flaring from sunburst distances

toward an unseen center.

No towers visible, and no birds,

only this black lake, the mountains

folding westward, the air already sifted,

the beautiful renewed dispersal that's tomorrow.

From "The Dog Star" (University of Massachusetts Press: $17.50 cloth, $8.95 paper). Di Piero is a poet, essayist an d translator; his last volume was "Early Light." copyright W.S. Di Piero. Reprinted with permission.

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