One thing I love about our apartment is its windows. We are on the second floor, and our street is narrow and bordered mostly with older, graceful buildings. There’s a market parking lot visible from our dining nook, but you have to work to see it. Even in these days, when we are directed to hunker down at home as much as possible, there are people on the street, walking dogs, going to the store, getting exercise.
And there’s more: last night I stood at the window after dark and looked at the sky, which was mottled with gray smudges of cloud above the black rooflines and lighted windows. And in a break in the clouds I saw a brilliant light: the planet Venus, hanging like a pearl in the low west. I called my wife over to look, and we stood there together a moment, gazing out beyond this troubled world.
And it reminded me of a poem I wrote when I was courting her, twenty years ago, and in which Venus played a part. I’ll post it here, as a sentimental distraction for these tedious days. Even though in the poem Venus is the morning star, not the evening star as it was last night. You’ll forgive me for that, I hope.
Venus Still Burns
I go out to the sidewalk each day
early, before the stars have faded.
I go out looking for the morning star,
that cold lamp shining high over
black rooftops silhouetted by an indigo dawn.
I find it and call it by its name:
Venus, symbol in books of love’s turmoil,
but soothing to the eye. Let me confess I’ll
also call your name softly then,
as if you could hear me far off in
that room where you sleep, dream, turn….
I am not young now, but Venus still burns
brightly as ever for me in the morning sky, at the balance point
between the endless darkness and the endless light.
Richard Risemberg 17 December 1999
It worked…we’re still together. Facing the future in the solace of love.