I’d rather watch fireflies than fireworks
pressing against the dark. “They’re vicious beasts,”
Dad says: “All they do is have sex and eat
their prey by the light they make. There’s the first
one now!” I look watching it glowing go
out quickly back into the dusk again
flickering up the wood going off and on
disappearing, showing the arbor’s post.
The sky has its stars, the earth its fireflies
that come to give us light as the light dies.
On Judgement Day they say that souls will rise
—Stories I’ve heard around a campfire—Eyes
opening with a familiar regard
knowing who I am knowing who they are.
…Fireflies and Lightning by Charles Burchfield (1964-65)
…Lightning and Thunder by Charles Burchfield (1920)
…Song of the Tree Cricket by Charles Burchfield (1959-60).