Eclipse/summer solstice/Juneteenth sonnet

(I lifted some phrases at the start and the finish from Cornell West. He won’t mind. “It’s not where you take it from – but where you take it to.”)

Some say we are in for grim times. They say
We should fortify our souls for the storms
Headed soon this way – put on the armor,
Set our sights on a distant unnamed star.

I am studying the constellations
Like our ancestors used to do. I stand
On their shoulders – holy ground. Through their eyes
I learn how they armed themselves and endured.

An annular eclipse coincided
With summer solstice this year. An omen
Of things to come, a lunar ring of fire
Not visible to seeking western eyes.

I saw it on YouTube. A ring of fire.
Let no man steal your joy, your sense of style.

a summer solstice sonnet – from the archives

A migration, a journey by moonlight,
from one holy state to a different one.
Move fast though, ‘cause the well-lit night is short,
which means no time for reading signs – and prayers
for good fortune – on the road. The shortest
distance between two points is a straight line –
or a tesseract for time travelers
among us. Another year won’t kill them,
and the cotton crop demands their presence.
But this particular convergence comes
once a generation, so their next chance
will be less fortuitous – as will ours.
A long day, a bright moon, and a lost year.
And a journey to bridge a gap in space.


Note: The summer solstice each year coincides, more or less (that is, by a day or two), with Juneteenth (June 19th), the observation of the day the final slaves were emancipated in the U.S. (in Texas, specifically) in 1865. Of course, human slavery continues in the U.S., regrettably, though no longer race-based. So enslaved people still need to be free, still need to escape, still need to break the chains that bind them.

This coinciding of dates may be just a coincidence. If you believe in coincidences . . .