By artist Carmen Hurt, oil painting, 2008, “Night of the Big Moon”
SWEET ORB OF NIGHT
By William B. Tappan
Sweet orb of night! I saw thee rise
In cloudless lustre o’er the plain;
I saw thee climb the azure skies,
With radiant splendours in thy train:
I marked thy mildly pensive beam
At midnight’s still and hallowed hour;
I watched the fitful, lonely gleam
That played on yonder ivied tower.
Sweet orb of night! I often love
When day with all its cares is o’er,
To wander in the silent grove,
And there the Source of Light adore:
O then, how false all else appears,
While wrapt in awe thy course I view,
And see thee mount the starry spheres,
And tread the fields of heavenly blue!
THE FIGURE ON A HILL
By Jeffrey Harrison
When I saw the figure on the crown of the hill,
high above the city, standing perfectly still
against a sky so saturated with the late-
afternoon, late-summer Pacific light
that granules of it seemed to have come out
of solution, like a fine precipitate
of crystals hanging in the brightened air,
I thought whoever it was standing up there
must be experiencing some heightened state
of being, or thinking—or its opposite,
thoughtlessly enraptured by the view.
Or maybe, looking again, it was a statue
of Jesus or a saint, placed there to bestow
a ceaseless blessing on the city below.
Only after a good five minutes did I see
that the figure was actually a tree—
some kind of cypress, probably, or cedar.
I was both amused and let down by my error.
Not only had I made the tree a person,
but I’d also given it a vision,
which seemed to linger in the light-charged air
around the tree’s green flame, then disappear.
Image from dreamstime.com