John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

Label: Poems | Author: Stanford Erickson
Jan 24, 2013

Often we have sat at night and watched the stars go by.

At first they come one by one: each steps forward, kneels

And kisses the forehead of the night with little bits of light.

Then, in a blinking of an eye, many stars touch the sky.


And when the pale fingers of day silently make their way

Through the fading night, and nip between their tips

Each flickering light, our grief secures an odd relief.

For the broad back of day portends the bright array.


There is a time, was a time, will always be a time

When, as we sit at night, a twinkling star will dance

Upon our eyes, pirouette lightly to our signs,

And with grace and charm to the very heights of the heavens climb.


The innocent follow each of its steppings in the skies

With gleeful prophecies of omnipotence.

Those suckled on the pointed breasts of pride, envy that sparking sight.

The grave, those who know the signs, are the star’s allies.


When with much delight we begin to laud that flight,

The parchments of our eyes mark it with vicarious delight,

Suddenly our shouts are stripped to a single denuded cry.

Our distant hope, our rising joy is stopped by a single smite.


Down, down it streaks, our falling star streams its blazing trail,

Pushes black, further back, black unto the night.

A trail mimicked by our scalding tears, washes our cold veneers.

Tears that taste—from years of strutting thoughts—simply stale.


Many days pass before we can sit and watch the night.

But every time one cries a bit of our badness dies.

And then, as we sit, we begin to see what God is like:

He is the night lit up for us by little bits of light.


Stanford Erickson

November 22, 1963


Copyright © Stanford Erickson. All rights Reserved