Our Equinox

             For Adriano

The kids emerge to afternoon from ancient doors
At St. Mary’s, pre-Ks eager to dash and hide

Around the green at Gregory College House.
It’s hard to tell which one’s mine, which is yours,

As they frolic and tumble, dive and slide
Down grass, spin a circle, play cat and mouse.

Breathlessly they fly across the green to boast
To us of what they’ve done, of things made real.

Elated, they took space-ships to the moon,
Raised a castle, entered, saw a ghost.

We like to keep them near us, but they steal
Away to explore where they want, and soon

Their screams of delight and fright are one
Beyond the knoll’s shallow horizon.

The March sky eases as evening draws near.
A chilly lip of shadow rises closer

To us, where we sit and wonder if we were
Like them long ago; and why it’s gone.

We talk, crane to spot the kids, and then go on.
Next year a new school. We’ll no longer meet here.

The green will go brown, die off, and regrow.
These friends, each their own ways, will disappear.

We’ll never know, or care much, where they’ll go.
Undergrads are sprawled with tablets. They sneer

When our children’s games draw near.
Like us, they once were small and also afraid

Of nothing so much as of being afraid,
Impatient to grow up; but, unlike us, they

Want nothing to do with childhood. They weigh
Themselves adults, while we look wistfully

To our own lost days, seeking symmetry
With our children, that boisterous throng

Moving in and out of the light, along
The lengthened shadows, as the smoky rind

Of sunset starts to disappear behind
The Evans Building, the tide-line of darkness

Rising closer to us on our benches. Dusk’s less
A leaving than an unexpected arrival,

A slow emptying out that leaves us full
Of light, at its last so bright it blinds us,

Sun half gone behind the Victorian frieze,
A flash above the pooling darkness, and then

We wonder why we wait in the cooling breeze,
Why we squint, straining to see our children.

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is the author of Sixty Sonnets, All of You on the Good Earth, Caligulan—selected as winner of the 2017 Poets’ Prize—and Last One Out. His fifth book, Storm Swimmer, was selected by Rowan Ricardo Phillips as the winner of the 2022 Vassar Miller Prize and will appear in April 2023. Visit him at www.ernesthilbert.com.

'Our Equinox' has 1 comment

  1. April 14, 2023 @ 3:06 pm Paul W Erlandson

    Very nicely done!


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

(c) 2024 North American Anglican