Out from night’s cold black
a small sparrow rides the moon’s breath,
straight as an arrow,
into the warmth and light
of the life-giver’s hall.
One brief moment, a
flash of bright wings
and the lone traveller is gone
back into the waiting night
from where it came.
Does the story change
if the nocturnal visitor
is a nightjar briefly seeking
the glow of the hearth
and the company of men?
A natural dweller of darkened spaces,
more night than day,
does it really miss the hall’s bright spark
or rush back to the black
with a sigh of homecoming?
And what of the sparrow,
daytime mouse,
will it mourn forever
the lost brightness
of the halls of men?
Would its heart have been lighter
if it had never known the light?
The dark is longest with us
and we do not fear
the night before the day.
Why then do we worry
when light returns to dark?
Why the sweating hesitation
as we rise to spread our wings,
fearful of becoming a sparrow
or a nightjar?


First published in Cats and Other Myths by J.S.Watts in 2011. J.S.Watts has published The Submerged Sea (poetry), Dempsey & Windle; Witchlight (novel), Vagabondage Press; A Darker Moon (novel), Vagabondage Press; Cats and Other Myths (poetry), Lapwing Publications; Songs of Steelyard Sue (poetry), Lapwing Publications.

Picture source: 阿爾特斯