Meaning

by Tom Swift

Keep this star for when you lose the world,
when grief and desire become a blurred door
that floats away across a plain room
without books or kisses.
Look to what grows dark beyond the walls,
that in night which holds the blue sky
singing in its black embrace.
It’s all spun around a necessary star,
star of prisons. Keep it:
It has the power to burst from dull thoughts,
breathe in airless colors,
and roll back the filth of your neglect.
let it pour through the chimney hole
patched with tin! Unloved objects —
empty jars, faces in clippings,
ball of hair spurned by the brush —
all the children of failure
will step forward in its blinding wind,
sons and daughters of that before which
there is no trivial being.

-Thomas R. Smith, “Keeping the Star,” Keeping the Star (1988)