Of Twilight and Shadow

walking in a forest grove
only birds sounding
my footsteps crunching leaves
eyes watch me on all sides
following me in the twilight glow
the wind blows, dancing in the fallen leaves
the boughs sway to and fro around the sylvan path
a song fills my ears as I walk along
a clearing lies ahead of me
entering, I see a lad clad in leaves and vines
in his hands, he cups a flute
and plays the forest to sleep
a sparrow on his shoulder, wolf pups at his knee
I stood and watched as animals slept all around this boy
he played a song of twilight and shadows
a song of sleep and dreams
as his song came to an end, the stars twinkled their glee
the moon rose to say good night
I looked again to see him
he raised his head with a wink and a nod and vanished before my eyes
forward I walk, through sleeping beasts
when caught my eye, a small thing on the ground
I lifted it gently, holding it to my lips
Take care of it, spoke a voice, for now you hold time
and blew a note, low and long
to watch the universe’s beginning from swirling infinity

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Stars

“Danny? Hey…um…Danny? I know it’s late and all…but…”
Danny rolled over, wishing he could just ignore the trio on the floor and go back to sleep. But he knew what happened. Last time he decided sleep was more important than helping a spirit, he’d spent the next month being stalked by a….thing. He couldn’t even remember the proper word for it. Well, Mom had had to cleanse his room, him, his little brother and the dog before the stupid thing finally left. So he listened.
“Yeah, I’m awake. What’s up, guys?”
The three glowing hedgehogs climbed up onto his bed and stood on top of the blankets.
“Well…we’re kind of lost…” said the center one.
“You’re lost. Wait a second, aren’t you guys stars?”
“Yeah, that’s the problem.”
He sighed and started to sit up.
“I’m gonna need to get dressed and leave a note for my mother. Can one of you guys tell the Crow out in the tree to keep an eye on my brother?”
“Yeah, sure, I got it.”
One of the hedgehogs floated off the blankets slightly and ran out straight through the window.
“I really hate it when you guys do that. Can’t you at least pretend to be corporeal?”

Phobos and Deimos Rising

Looking up into the sky from my window, I could see the twin moons, Phobos and Deimos, as bright lights in the sky. But there was a third light tonight. My big brother Hank had said it was Earth. I read about Earth in class. Mommy and Daddy were from Earth, they’d said. A long, long time ago when they were kids they had left there with their parents to come here. I hugged my bear tight and wondered what it was like. I’d grown up in one of the big domes all my life, playing in the hydroponic sheds and out in the long corridors. But Earth had forests and rivers and lakes and all kinds of neat things that I’d seen in the vids. They’d brought animals here, but only some, only the food ones or the pet ones. We had a cat who Mommy said was descended from the cat she had on Earth. I wonder how. Did they put the cat into cryo-sleep like they did the colonists? They must have. I bet it was really scared in the pod. I would have been. Mommy says that someday, people are going to go even further than here and leave the solar system. I’ve got a model of the solar system hanging in my room. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. I wonder what it’s like out past there. Hank says that there are probes out there exploring and beaming back pictures. I wonder if they’ve found anything with forests.

Midwinter’s Night

The moon rode high in a midnight sky
Spreading light on the country below
The forest floor was covered in white
As the cold winter breeze touched one and all
Throughout the countryside were animals
And they all sat up late to wait out the night

Up in the trees and in burrows below
In their winter coats of glistening white
Midwinter’s eve is a time for them all
The time when the gift of gab is given animals
Just for a moment on Midwinter’s night
For one short moment as the moon crests the sky

As the moon’s jolly face all pale and white
Shines down on the forest folk, one and all
One small boy is watching the animals
One small boy creeping about on cold, dark night
He heard the stories about what lies under a Midwinter sky
And the speech of all the animals above and below

He came forth to listen and to hear them all
For few have heard the speech of the animals
And he sat shivering, hiding in the night
And the moon climbed high, over the crest of the sky
The beasts above and the beasts below
Came out of their burrows and nests, all coated in white

They formed a large circle made only of animals
And raised their muzzles to the night
And their voices rose up to the Midwinter sky
The boy leaned against the tree that he sat below
And he watched the silhouettes on the ground so white
As each spoke aloud their prayers, hopes, and dreams for all

On Midwinter’s Eve for an hour of the night
As the moon crests the roof of the sky
And casts its haunting shadows on the world below
And the world is bathed in a coating of white
A single boy watched and wondered at it all
And listened to the secret hopes and fears of the animals

As the night brightened from the light below
The sky was no longer filled with the voices of all
Of the animals as their gift faded into the snow bright white