Newcastle Island and the Irrelevance of Stars
Fireflies hover above the open canopy of our tent‒‒
Ah…they are only stars, not insects. They have no light for me.
Newcastle Island is dark, and smells of seawater and camp fires.
All that touches me is by my side—warm, breathing, dreaming.
The pinpoint holes in the heavens cannot light the colours below,
and my electric torch is more brilliant than any star, because it is ours.
The learned astronomers tell us galaxies are collapsing and exploding
but I feel more heat from your breath than those trillion stellar blazes
Whitman told us he look’d up in perfect silence at the stars, and I
have been in awe before, but soon we will visit those endless continents
and dry our feet on their shores; for now, the barely glowing mortals
beneath the canvas are fragile as moonlight on the waves,
and will shine longer than the faint sparks above.
by Garth von Buchholz
poetry contest winner, 2016