Midnight, and the sky above the lake
ablaze with a zillion fires lit while I slept.
Each flame a declaration, each solemn planet bright.
I tilt my head way back, and there's The Milky Way,
there's Cassiopeia, Orion, Ursa Major the Pleiades,
a whole bright host.
Years ago while snow fell quietly on Latvia,
I entered the majestic Riga Dom.
From the balcony a choir sang, a capella,
from Schubert's Deutsche Messe,
The Baltic Sea slept
while the sanctuary's hushed, cold corners
overflowed with: Holy, Holy, Holy
and our eyes with tears.
On the beach tonight I shiver, not with cold,
but overcome—unwitting witness
to the firmament's explosion—with astonishment.
As if the host of Bethlehem's angels
and the celestial Latvian voices joined
to wake the midnight world
with radiant, resounding Glorias.
(When I am old or ill
will all the stars be there, still
burning, still untarnished,
declaring truth and beauty
are not dead, not even dormant?
And will that choir sing?)