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In A Light Time

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Written by Philip Levine

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 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.


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