Walking Past Midnight
By Billy Howell-Sinnard
He runs ahead into the night.
The bodiless phosphorescence--
reflection of countless tiny stars
falling--covers the ground in light.
I follow dark stars in the snow
to an open field beyond trees;
we two, the only living beings
in sight. The unlit houses bare
faceless mirrors staring back
like a coven of somnambulists.
Reluctantly, I yell for him, afraid
I will awaken sleepers. We run,
instinctively, to the back door,
shaking the snow from our bodies.
Shoe and paw prints disappearing,
a moment's presence buried.
Billy Howell-Sinnard posts in some of the same poetry groups as me on facebook, and I consistently admire his work. I particularly love his haiku and tanka, which have the same qualities as this longer piece I've chosen — musicality of language, beautiful and evocative visual imagery, and something else that I don't quite know how to designate except to say that he gets a sense of soul into his text somehow, though without being overtly spiritual. He follows the gentle and idealistic Baha'i faith, and posts many of those teachings on his facebook page; so I wonder if, perhaps, when spirituality imbues one's whole life, there is no need to spell it out in one's poetry: it will show anyway. He says of himself as a poet:
He loves words but believes poetry transcends words. He likes simple language that through the power of spirit transcends the moment.
I found that quote with a poem of his, Red Trike, in the Victorian Violet Press and Journal, where I also learned that he is a former heroin addict now working as a registered nurse, and that he studied cast metal sculpting at the University of Iowa.
The best place to find more of his poetry online is at SoundCloud, where you can hear it.
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