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About this poet

Rose Styron is the author of four poetry collections: Fierce Day (Friesen Press, 2015), By Vineyard Light (Rizzoli, 1995), Thieves' Afternoons (Viking, 1973), and From Summer to Summer (Viking, 1965). She has written introductions to Letters to My Father (Lousiana State University Press, 2009), a collection of letters written by her husband, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer William Styron, to his father, and The Selected Letters of William Styron (Random House, 2012), which she edited. Also a human rights activist, Styron has traveled widely for Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. She lives on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Goodnight, Great Summer Sky

Goodnight, great summer sky
world of my childhood and the star-struck sea.

White chaise from that ancestral southern
porch my raft,
white goose-down quilt my ballast,
under Orion on the green-waved lawn
I float, high—
new moon, old craft
tide strong as ever to the sheer horizon.

Over the seawall, on the dock
Andromeda their strict and jeweled guard
as tall Orion—seas and lawns ago—
chose to be mine,
our children sleep: Alexandra, Tom
under their folded goose-wing sails
true friends in dream,
the folly wrangle of their sibling day
outshone by starlight.

Calm island evening, never-ending sea—
our lovers’ rages, too, are quiet,
drowned.

Miracle of midsummer, the trust of dark
sails us beyond this harbor.

Copyright © 1995 by Rose Styron. “Goodnight, Great Summer Sky” was originally published in By Vineyard Light (Rizzoli International Publications, 1995). Reprinted with permission of the author.

Copyright © 1995 by Rose Styron. “Goodnight, Great Summer Sky” was originally published in By Vineyard Light (Rizzoli International Publications, 1995). Reprinted with permission of the author.

Rose Styron

Rose Styron is the author of four poetry collections: Fierce Day (Friesen Press, 2015), By Vineyard Light (Rizzoli, 1995), Thieves' Afternoons (Viking, 1973), and From Summer to Summer (Viking, 1965). She has written introductions to Letters to My Father (Lousiana State University Press, 2009), a collection of letters written by her husband, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer William Styron, to his father, and The Selected Letters of William Styron (Random House, 2012), which she edited.

by this poet

poem
Crisp white snow
on our dark green firs

heart lights gleam
an owl spell stirs

full moon on fire
this leap year night—

gift: one day more
for love's last flight
poem
We were the family
there on his bed the five of us
touching his arms, his chest,
cradling his head.

For children
bending to
him, to ease his departure, bless
his mysterious

journey—
then I alone
uncovering the bony legs,
preparing him for rest.

Now I, in the limbo of
our fashioned earth,
cannot remember
how to
poem

Each crisp autumn
there are fewer leaves, more clarity—
light cycles of the haymound
odors of late roses
rivers rushing where we
once meandered
content in the casual chaos of each
season, plotting no espionage
because we did not know
the world as terror then.