Night Music

When I could afford to be a dreamer,
the stars pulsed like a heartbeat
and the sloop-nosed moon left no sound;
neither did the cedars and elms
that encircled my house like guardians,
untroubled by lack of wind.

There was a prelude of silence at twilight
after the clouds ignited the hills
with their embers, and the sky
unscrolled the inevitable darkness
until only silhouettes and shadows remained.

The wet grasses greased little streaks
of dew against my ankles
as I strolled to the riverbank, following
the music that rattled the night
like castanets—

the crickets tuning their bowstrings
for a nocturnal symphony;
the chinless toads ballooning
for the chorus; the brass throats
of the loons warbling like flutes.

A salutary lullaby that rocked 
my neighbours to sleep and challenged
the percussions of the night—
the ghosts that inhabited an alternate plane.

Caroline Misner