Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Poem for Poetry Thursday

Lightning Bugs

What are they made of
that they can frolic and sparkle
above the delicious scent of honeysuckle
on a warm June night?
They’ll shine for anyone
to make the world less
a little less dull.
And where do they come from?
The ones I catch
seem so otherworldly.
They glide golden
against the moon’s patina,
drifting above
Big Debbie’s backyard
and Jr.’s Corner Market.
I sit on the front stoop
and watch them float
across well-warn streets,
blacktop of my misspent youth.
I offer my cupped hands
only to put them in a jar.
They cannot tell me about
captivity or what it means to love
and to set something free.
Still, like a true captor
I detain my bugs until morning
now grateful for release.
To understand indifference
I would deny them
the right to shimmer.



Copyright 2006 January G. O'Neil

8 comments:

Lynn said...

I especially like these lines:

They cannot tell me about
captivity or what it means to love
and to set something free.


Wonderful!

Jeanne said...

Oh lightening bugs! I have a poem I wrote that ends with lightening bugs in a Ball Jar.

Lightening bugs, seeing them, always makes me feel like a child still full of wonder. Kind of like poetry:-)

jim said...

I really like the poem when it gets specific and individual, not those general bugs, but beginning with the "ones I catch." Really nice, and thank you!

paris parfait said...

I grew up in the South and we caught lightning bugs and kept them in a jar, hoping against hope their light wouldn't falter. Love your poem!

Deb R said...

I like how the poem started out seeming innocent and nostalgic and then got deeper and darker as it progressed. I love the ending: "To understand indifference
I would deny them the right to shimmer."
Wow!

chiefbiscuit said...

Catching fireflies seems to be such an American childhood memory! It makes me think of the first verse of Joni Mitchell's song 'Both Sides Now'. This poem drips with summer memories and the conflict - guilt - associated with capturing something beautiful. Just lovely.

Jennifer said...

very, very good. I've only seen a lightning bug once in my life!

January said...

Thanks for all the great comments. I always feel apprehensive about posting new work, but I think of them as first drafts that need lots of TLC.

Just got back from VA--can't wait to catch up on your Poetry Thursday poems.

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