Magazine | December 7, 2015, Issue

Poetry

FIREFLIES

After sundown you see the first

Out of the corner of your eye, then another

In the middle distance, the gloaming,

Where a grove of maples conspires,

Darkly thinking night-thoughts

While these inklings of light multiply

Glowing only as they ascend,

As if the effort to rise and shine dulled them

At a preordained height

No higher than a child’s head, or

So it seems, while there is daylight enough

Bending along the broad curve of the sky

For us to glimpse the fading world they ornament.

Within the hour we can see a hundred

Bearing messages to the departing day.

They are supposed to be mating, soundlessly.

And if they were a chorus, they would crescendo

At the climax or quintessence of twilight,

At the time that is neither day nor night.

After that the fireflies make themselves scarce,

Having no love for the deeper shades of evening,

Except for the brave few who astonish us

By rising above the treetops in darkness

Where one might be mistaken for a star.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The Islamic War

The historian Thucydides felt that democracies were characteristically volatile and yet complacent when existential dangers loomed on the horizon. But once faced with impending doom — such as the near ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Holding Up a Mirror

People know 18th-century London more from Hogarth’s drawings than from the work of any novelist. Indeed, the titles of his best-known picture series — “A Rake’s Progress” and “Gin Lane” ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Where Have You Gone, Yogi Berra? I take issue with the editors’ comment that “Berra’s personal career statistics — batting  average, home runs, wins above replacement value — were strong but ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In light of the unspeakable horrors they have suffered, please take a moment today to pray for the victims and survivors of Yale. ‐ Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ...
Athwart

War and Imagination

After the Charlie Hebdo attack, it seemed as if French grief followed the Western model set in place after the death of Princess Di. Emotional prostration. Candlelight vigils. Heaps of ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

FIREFLIES After sundown you see the first Out of the corner of your eye, then another In the middle distance, the gloaming, Where a grove of maples conspires, Darkly thinking night-thoughts While these inklings of light ...
Happy Warrior

Liberalism Besieged

Here’s a historical bullet that I’ll happily bite: The “miracle” of the American founding was as much about tribal affinity and aligned incentives as it was about any higher notions ...

Most Popular

World

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More