Friday Poem

The Glassblowers, 6 A.M.

Night draws its plough through the fields.
A fine mist: the breath
of a black horse, dreaming.
Under its eyelid, the moon.

This early no one wakes
but the glassblowers
secretive insects in their hive.
At the end of each sting
a dollop of luminous honey.

Mostly they are just boys,
lean shadows aping the maestros.
When nobody's looking they clown around
swapping greasy sombreros, goosing each other,
then lapse from play so quickly it seems
a mirage
the after-image of that childhood
they've long since left behind.

Muscles steaming with sweat
eyes glazed by smoke
how they dance round the furnace
transforming night's lead into gold!
Even while eating they circle the fire.
The ordinary sun cannot draw them
outside, where the black horse churns the furrow
and girls in flowering blouses
stroll to the dairy.

No magnet beyond this centre
and the girls know it
crowding the doorway for a glimpse
of ruddy flesh,
scattering at the first sight
of those burning, devoted eyes.

by Susan Glickman
The Power to Move
Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1986.