Then came crow-light that seemed
A mantle cast over the sleeping mountains
That brushed the fading stars,

So that the grand mosaic,
The landscape over which the not-quite-dawn
Brooded and breathed—its voice

Swelling from a thousand throats
Of birds and from a million wings of insects
Hidden in its wildness—

Was clothed in purple robes,
Such as a king might wear in picture books
Read avidly by children,

Or read to them by mothers
Hopeful to impart some small imagination
In a diminished time,

That by imagining,
Though children, they might stand as tall as kings,
As proud: the golden monarchs

Of a golden age, who rule
More than they conquer, sing more than condemn—
If this land could bear kings.

So every mother, watching
Her son sleep, imagines him transfigured
In purple radiance

Like the mountains; and what
She sees and loves takes color from the books
A hopeful mother read

To her when she was young—
Who read as dancers dance, living the words
As if her own breath came

And went in their rise and fall,
Was swaying grass, was darkly swaying wood;
And sought from page to page

To manufacture lustres
From the bare text as bees gladly transform
Their plunder into honey.

Her words, like chaff, have departed
And been scattered on the winds of years.
Her voice, landscape, remains.

This memory remains
And bends above the mother, newlywed,
Who watches her son sleep.


Brian Patrick Eha is an author, a poet, and a journalist. His debut collection of poems, Wellsprings, is complete in manuscript. His work has been published by, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Classical Outlook, among others. He holds an M.S. from Columbia School of Journalism.