Size / / /

Tonight while watching the fire on the mountain
Hafiz tapped my shoulder
And asked in silken English,
"Do you have wine?"
There was none to be found
Amid the pale orange glow before us,
So I offered him a soda.
"That will do," he told me.

The mountain rose in a poem of light
Splitting earth from sky
In a long aurora across the peak's spine,
Surrounded by a hundred glowing points
Paying reverence,
And we sipped quietly.
Each of us read our own meaning into the fire's verse
While pillars of smoke shooed away the stars.

"The moon and wine are most important," Hafiz said
(In Persian -- I nodded as if understanding)
He stirred my soda into space with his finger
And the ice cubes into stars.
"It is no business of mine what you do with your Earth --
Or the magic of flutes,
Or the songs of birds,
Or the salt of your oceans,
Or the ships you will build powered by the sun's furnace --
I am not so wise to instruct you.
But tend to the fire on your mountain
Before the world falls asleep.
You people today -- who could fly so high
The center of the galaxy would be your belt,
Who would be as God --
But it is no business of mine."
He drank another drink.

The ice cubes melted and I shook centuries out of my head
To see Earth upturned, the sky burning,
This last mountain washed in a cool wind
While I reached through the smoke
And caught the stars -- for once --
Looking back at us in wonder.
Hafiz invited me to join him for a sip of wine.


Copyright © 2004 Danny Adams

(Comments on this story | Poetry Forum | Main Forum Index | Forum Login)

Danny Adams was bewitched into writing early on by the works of Philip José Farmer, and the spell has never faded. He is a college librarian deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where he lives on campus with his wife and inspiration, Laurie, and their two wicked cats. To contact him, email

Bio to come.
Current Issue
19 Feb 2024

That was Father—a storm in a drought, a comet in the night. Acting first, thinking later, carried on not by foresight, but on luck’s slippery feet. And so we were not as surprised as we should have been when, one warm night in our tenth year on the mountain, Father showed us the flying machine.
The first time I saw stone and Bone in ocean
This is it. This is the decision that keeps you up at night.
Wednesday: How to Navigate Our Universe by Mary Soon Lee 
Issue 12 Feb 2024
Issue 5 Feb 2024
Issue 29 Jan 2024
Issue 15 Jan 2024
Issue 8 Jan 2024
Issue 1 Jan 2024
Issue 18 Dec 2023
Issue 11 Dec 2023
Issue 4 Dec 2023
Issue 27 Nov 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: