THE GREEN FLASH

(One Idea)

On the world's last stand,

As far away as you can get

From town and still be on the land

Just before the customary set

 

Of sun, boxed in by the sea,

Lost in an oasis

Of maritime expectancy,

Equal parts of surge and stasis,

 

On the island's widest beach 

We sit and watch the orange sun

Descending slowly out of reach

Of whatever harm the world has done,

 

Waiting for its token sign 

The concession to our frail belief,

Where the planet draws the line

Of day against the reef,

 

Watching as the light decreases 

And turns the sky to sand,

Furnishing the thesis

Where the offing plays its hand

 

And in a sudden move,

Proving inexplicably

Things you cannot prove,

Replaces gold with alchemy,

 

Demonstrating just how lost we are,

How strange the air 

In worlds so far,

To want a private solar flare:

 

So no one mentions you can stare

Intensely at a yellow flame

And, in New York or anywhere,

The end turns out the same:

 

With fission branded in our eyes,

When its prominences pass,

Fire's complement replies

Which, for suns, is simply grass

 

All the mystery of tints

Turned by mirrors to a fact—

Despite experimental squints,

Angles let the light diffract:

 

Any hunch would look the same—

Replacing sight with what we read

Displaces magic with a name

Which in truth we shouldn't need.

 

November 30th, 1997

Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

Rewritten August 23rd, 2003

Kailua