The Same Venus

By Fred Lape

Dur­ing the past year, it’s some­times been dif­fi­cult to find hope. 

In this poem by the Arboretum’s founder, Fred Lape, the poem’s speak­er finds hope in Venus, the bright­est orb in the heav­ens. Faced with mankind’s tran­sience, the speak­er will not call it opti­mism, how­ev­er, but accep­tance, a cold com­fort, a kind of peace nonetheless.

The Same Venus 

The del­i­cate amethyst of twi­light
lies over the sea. A red cloud fades.
There in the green blue sky you shine,
Venus, a light­house for the earth.

The same light I remem­ber as a boy
camped at the edge of a damp wood
fox­fire in the decay­ing logs behind me,
your pur­er light on my fore­head,
or lat­er on a snowy win­ter night
at lamb­ing time com­ing from the barn,
or again after the death of a friend,
light of a cold plan­et, with­out com­fort.
Now in the twi­light of my own life
at peace as the day is at peace
I watch you sink in the west.

So you pass through all our lives
from birth to death, you once
over the ape man in Africa,
you over the space man of the future,
over love over hate over blood over decay,
illu­mi­nat­ing the evenings of our days.

The meet­ing is adjourned.

– Fred Lape


Fall 2021

Volume 39 , Number 3

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