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Poem of the week: Visiting Star by Stanley Moss


A trick of the light provides the relaxed occasion for an irreverent contemplation of religious myths

Visiting Star

I woke at sunrise,
fed my dogs, Honie and Margie –
to the east a wall of books and windows,
a lawn, the trees in my family,
the donkeys and forest behind the hill.
Sunlight showed itself in,
passed the China butterflies on the window
so birds watch out, don’t break their necks.
On the back of a green leather chair for guests
facing me in sunlight and shadow, a sunlit Star of David,
two large hand spans square.
I call my wife to see the star
she first thinks I painted on the chair.
Soon she catches on -- no falling star.
We searched the room and outside.
How did the star come to be?
Without explanation. None.
The star visited a few minutes, disappeared,
or became invisible. Why?
I wondered if it was le bel aujourd’hui
or a holiday some Jews celebrate.
Playing fair, I told myself: watch out for
a crucifix anywhere before which
contrition saves condemned souls –
watch in the forest for portraits of the Virgin,
the wheel of Dharma down the road,
that teaches ‘save all living beings’,
when the moon is full a crescent moon
reflected on a wall or lake.
Watch for flying horses!
I read the news of commandments broken.
Thou shalt not kill.
I write between the lines
Thou shalt not steal
seventy-five years from the life of a child.
Next day, I found my Star of David
was a glass sun and star reflection of
a tinkling shimmering wind chime made in China.
A pleasing, godless today fills my study.

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