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