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

Elections

Story Time with David Brooks

His latest column imagines a future in which Elizabeth Warren wins the next presidential election. Warren won convincingly. The Democrats built a bigger majority in the House, and to general surprise, won a slim Senate majority of 52 to 48. After that election, the Republicans suffered a long, steady decline. ... Read More
Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Defaces Its Façade

The facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designed by Richard Morris Hunt in 1902, contains four large niches that might display sculpture but have traditionally been left empty. This was prudent good taste on the Met's part, since sculpture on buildings is a tricky business that few artists in our age of ... Read More