What the Earth Has Done - 1992
50.5 x 70 inches


by Peter Halstead

All of us must know
the lengths the sun
must go to turn
the morning into night.
In other ways
we trust the sky
with the unprotected eye,
for its extravagant display
of mystery and naiveté.
But now cows lie
down, birds don’t fly,
bees rest silent in their hives,
and just the shadow of the day
Survives, as for an hour
we live our clouded lives
in the borrowed power
of a distant satellite,
as the moon swirls nearer
to erase the morning.
Weather is a mirror,
or a warning, that what
the earth has done,
the sky will do.
In the blinders that we wear
to mask the sight run
the spectacles
of spring’s repeating rite.

In the end,
the world comes out again,
the darkening of the moon
now transfigured lawn,
which like all the summer
blooms again as bright as dawn.
But may the infinite sublimities
arm our innocence against
these sunny lunar forgeries,
false fires that the stars imply,
and not trust the simulated spark
of day without our glasses,
or burn our eyes
on what passes for the dark.

December 23rd, 2018
August 26, 2021

50.5 x 70 inches