Outside History


These are outsiders, always. These stars—

these iron inklings of an Irish January,

whose light happened

thousands of years before

our pain did; they are, they have always been

outside history.

They keep their distance. Under them remains

a place where you found

you were human, and

a landscape in which you know you are mortal.

And a time to choose between them.

I have chosen:

out of myth in history I move to be

part of that ordeal

who darkness is

only now reaching me from those fields,

those rivers, those roads clotted as

firmaments with the dead.

How slowly they die

as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear.

And we are too late. We are always too late.