Midsummer Night

I am well-met by moonlight:
Bats line the graveyard trees,
   hanging from pine and maple boughs.
   Not hundreds of bats,
          but thousands

Their slant inverted eyes regard me.
  In their world I’m the strange one,
   a two-leg walker
     stuck to the ground,
dim-sighted, inarticulate,
deaf to their ultrasonic Sanskrit.

I love their wing-beats, their
startled flight when I clap my hands —
their comradeship for my monologues,
their brotherly listening —

And though they darken the trees
so the beacon moon,
the stars cannot intrude,
fireflies assemble
like landing lights,
my faerie pathway clearly marked

into the grove and the elder gravestones,
out to the lake and the quiet streets,
or — to nowhere

I can remain as their midsummer king,
a willing captive of Mab or Oberon,
regent of their passing luminance,
crowned in an aureole of foxfire

for this night of nights,
      summer's briefest,
its joys packed frenzied, feverish,
from long-drawn dusk till
     teasing dawn
when bat-wings fold invisible
into the foliage and the ill-met
day people rise from their beds,
cock-crow, and  assume their power.

Keep me now and forever,
     Thou sable Night!


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