Star Herders

we have become star herders now
walking slowly on either side
of an embellished sky,
whistling alternate silences,
the moon follows us for a while
then slips away to confer with the trees,
the pretzeled shadows of the past
with their wolf tails
are slinking into the ever encroaching dark,
what does it matter where it began,
what does it matter what was said,
we stop to let the galaxy
drink from a bygone stream,
now we can be strangers every night,
taste the quiet anew,
feel the shimmering space expand,
what does it matter who was wrong,
we nod politely,
round up constellations,
the rain is coming down now,
we pitch our separate tents
against the obtuse glance of the mountain,
and pretend
that the stars have been saved,
that the moon is asleep,
that the wind lying between us is warm breath,
that our dreams are about
other people


34 thoughts on “Star Herders

  1. My goodness this is absolutely bewitching!❤️ Especially love; “the moon follows us for a while then slips away to confer with the trees, frowning, the pretzeled shadows of the past.” Beautifully executed!❤️


  2. I was startled at your use of “star herders”. I had just finished writing a bit for my writing group about “cloud wranglers”! Strange, is it not, that we were each coining a new celestial phrase at almost precisely the same time? I sensed a mystery “under story” here, and loved that you drew us in with your words.


  3. Wow, that end… the whole poem… the thought not just of pretending to be something we are not, but taking the fakery further by making ourselves believes that the dreams we’ve crafted (out of nothing) are happy ones.


  4. This reminds me of several things: lying on my back in the grass, finger-waling through the stars, and something Lucille Clifton wrote about how one of our first ancestors must have fearfully come out of a cave at night and looked up to the heavens with wonder, and how that must have been the birth of the first poem. I think it matters more than words can say. Your poem stuns me in a similar fashion,



    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth…I think wonderment at nature, sheer awe, was definitely the source of the first poetry. I wrote this about separation, about human failure at relationships, unwilling to let go…but as poems often do, it has meant different things to different readers!


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