By Paul J. Willis
This evening we are awash in light.
It buoys the mountains as if they have finally
found their proper medium, their true home,
as if only now the peaks and ridges
and chaparral have come to the surface
and are free to look around, to take in air,
to catch us up in their respiration.
If only we could bathe ourselves
in light like this the whole year through.
Could we survive, amidst so much joy?
This evening is the highest tide,
the crest of possibility.
All ships come in:
hulls sleek, sails shining.
Editor’s Note: “I wrote this poem,” the poet remembers, “on the evening of a summer solstice in Santa Barbara, marveling, as we do here, at both the mountains and the sea.” With its light touch, vivid imagery, and note of quiet optimism, the poem represents Paul J. Willis at his very best. He is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara. His most recent book of poems, from which “Midsummer” is taken, is Say This Prayer into the Past (Cascade Books, 2013). Learn more at pauljwillis.com. —David Starkey, contributing editor, poetry
Originally published in the Summer 2014 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.