Long Night Moon

After a storm, the drapes of rain are drawn,

but a low ceiling of clouds still obscures

the fullness of the December moon,

making darker the longest night of the year,

with Mercury and Jupiter conjoined,

as stars fall behind the heavy barrier,

and Earth’s upper half leans backward until

it reaches the maximum tilt of winter solstice,

inviting winter in, but also promising

the turn of the wheel toward another spring.

A cold midwinter moon, a long night moon,

at the solstice ritually fired and feasted;

the decorative evergreen branches, cut, must die,

except as symbols, but the trees live on.

Next day, the sun rises late, but rises still,

and blazes bright until its early setting.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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Barking Time

On Wednesdays at noon,

if the weather is good,

they test the tornado sirens,

and the dogs on the street behind me

join in, turning their howls

to harmonize, but the test

blasts through a solid minute,

longer than the dogs can

hold out without a breath,

and, one by one, their voices

drop our of the chorus;

but the siren, mechanical, controlled,

trails to silence when its time is up,

while the dogs, being dogs,

will still have their day.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Remorse

At home alone at night,

a drink sounds good,

a chat with a friend online,

but before you know it,

the bottle’s empty,

you’ve talked too much.

The morning after, it’s just you,

quiet from the headache, sad.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper