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In A Light Time

Written by: Philip Levine | Biography
 The alder shudders in the April winds 
off the moon. No one is awake and yet 
sunlight streams across 
the hundred still beds 
of the public wards 
for children. At ten 
do we truly sleep 
in a blessed sleep 
guarded by angels 
and social workers? 
Do we dream of gold 
found in secret trunks 
in familiar rooms? 
Do we talk to cats 
and dogs? I think not. 
I think when I was 
ten I was almost 
an adult, slightly 
less sentimental 
than now and better 
with figures. No one 
could force me to cry, 
nothing could convince 
me of God's concern 
for America 
much less the fall of 
a sparrow. I spit 
into the wind, even 
on mornings like this, 
the air clear, the sky 
utterly silent, 
the fresh light flooding 
across bed after 
bed as though something 
were reaching blindly -- 
for we are blindest 
in sunlight -- for hands 
to take and eyelids 
to caress and bless 
before they open 
to the alder gone 
still and the winds hushed, 
before the children 
waken separately 
into their childhoods.