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.