Stargazers on a Winter's Night

With lowered scarves and gaping mouths,
we sigh with awe as starlight gleams
as crystalline as arctic snow.
Small homes below with Christmas lights
establish pleasant symmetries
between the valley and the sky.

A dog calls out to Sirius
(I let myself imagine here)
perhaps to wish its mate goodnight.

With one glove off, you trace the heavens,
fingers full of reverence,
which point out constellations you
identify by common names
- the dragon, swan, a lion, bears -
much like an evening at the zoo
except these creatures run forever
through the cosmic wilderness.

I see the whale from head to tail,
its fins held wide while it will breach
the ocean's darkness with such grace
that nothing splashes back to earth
to snuff our modest makeshift fire
as it dives down around our campsites
at the height of evergreens,

the universe and us beheld
at once within its giant eyes
before it swims around, compelled
to hurry upward toward the skies.

Stargazers on a Winter's Night © Copyright 2021, Robert J. Tiess.

View this poem at

Ted Kooser inspiration theme challenge prompt - link:

The whale in this poem represents the constellation Cetus.

Submitted: December 29, 2021