"Fireflies"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 12 2005 6:43 AM

"Fireflies"

Click here to listen to Karl Kirchwey read this poem. Those nights the fireflies love best— windless and a little humid— when they are current in the pasture, busy in their greeny traffic, signaling beneath the stars ("Like a nightclub's marquee," she says, remembering Fifty-Second Street), then I think pleasure is like this, accomplished in a perfect silence undeceived by loneliness.

And in the morning on the lawn,
seedpods of Eastern cottonwood
lie scattered open, white and brilliant,
as if true to some child's account
of what pleasure becomes with daylight.

Karl Kirchwey is the author of six books of poems, most recently Mount Lebanon, and of a translation of Paul Verlaine's first book of poems, as Poems Under Saturn. Professor of the Arts and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College, he is serving as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome from 2010-13.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.