Loren Eiseley

These Are the Stars

From Prairie Schooner

These are the stars that only one field knows
High in the sandhill barrens to the north.
Only the field mouse as he ventures forth
Only the fox that hunts him through the snows
Only the hare on the quick and windy toes
Catch such brief silver—into depths profound
Into the root-dark of the underground
Scurry with stars where no star ever goes.

Like these dim things that slip from weed to weed
When the great wings to other hunting fly,
Knowing the brain, though smaller than a seed,
Makes its own light—so here by means as sly
I steal your words—as mice in timid heads
Capture small stars to light them to dark beds.

Reprinted from Prairie Schooner Vol XII No 1 (Fall 1938) by permission of University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1938 by the Wordsmiths of Sigma Upsilon.