Drink deep the wine of this inverted cup,
black crystalled night.
Mark well the patterns of its lights,
the golden dipper in the hulking bear,
the hunter, striding high the southern edges
of the winter earth,
red Mars, ringed Saturn, Cassiopei's shining chair,
the countless far-receding Pleiades,
and she, bright lover to the Sun
now setting, glowing on the western rim.
Tonight upon my frozen road
this little, snow-encrusted bowl of world
waits motionless and still and cold,
the frosted breath an incense of the body's sacrifice.
Only the dark jeweled cup of heaven turns
as held in some yet contemplating hand
the sparkling essence of a universe
around my small inconsequental star
is slowly twirled.

Dear walkers of the cupped night sky
engrave your star-traced beings on these darkening eyes,
that in some coming blackness to the soul,
I will have some small light of you,
to hold.

        Irene Dodge
        March 16, 1985

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