Poem | Twice Last Night I Saw Eternity


after Henry Vaughan

The second time it was that smaller light
a flashlight flickers, battery almost dead
but these mazurkas lit up the Western sky
each instant panoramic, grace dechained from asking,
the declaration of a wish fulfilled
such as the full moon scatters with its silence
on the darkest dark waters at summer’s end.

The first time I experienced it in Braille
though I’m 20-20 with glasses and the shell
I stopped to reach along the beach stood still
seconds before the ground under my step
curved outward, the surface of another world.

I was the shell and on the shell.
In the interior I whorled, my own echo
my soul, the shell. There was an angel,
a fistful of wings. I’ll have to tell you
the rest tomorrow. When you’re more receptive.

Published in the May 19, 2017 issue: 


Peter Cooley’s tenth book of poetry, World Without Finishing, was published last year by Carnegie Mellon University Press.

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