The Arrow of Time

We are in the backyard
With our children at night
Looking at the stars:

“The light of the Orion Nebula
Began its journey to us
At the time of the Roman Empire.”

Time expands, now we live
Fourteen billion years after
The beginning of time.

Space widens and grows
Larger, the space arrow
Follows time’s arrow.

Energy, which is heat,
Decreases, it’s much colder
Now in the Universe,

“Even on a hot day like this,”
You say. But it’s hot
Inside the nebulae–

Those “beds of young stars”
That are cooling down
As they grow into adulthood.

*

And so, since we’re star dust,
How can we not embrace
Our temperate onward journey,

The office and the living
Room, their ample space
For each, with time alone?

The marriage is made
Of words and the space
Between each of them.

I search the Orion Nebula
On our wedding anniversary—
Our two young stars grow.

*

Last evening on our walk
We saw a pair of red cardinals
Chase each other on the street.

I couldn’t stop thinking
About good omens,
Their loyalty to one another.

A house later, a baby hawk
Attacked a nest of sparrows,
And the tiny birds pecked

At the hawk’s wings, cried
Together, coordinated missile
Attacks, one after the other

Till the hawk flew to the top
Of the chimney. When
It returned, it hit the nest

And we left when wings
Flapped in branches,
Saw the mother hawk

Watch the hunt from
The top of the chimney,
Large and glorious.

No matter how small we are,
Fear disappears when it’s
Time to protect the nest.

*

There are many things
We see in the quieter world
These days of Lockdown.

Schools of fish ruffle
The sea surface, now that
Few boats disturb the water.

Two monarch butterflies
Circle around us
Outside the front door.

A flock of quails waddles
Through the back garden,
Roses blossom constellations.

Silence feels airy between us.
Time won’t retrace itself.
Yet, in your eyes I see

Our past together, one
Single arrow aiming
The way of the stars.

2 August 2020

Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan, a George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of four poetry collections, a memoir, and a critical study. Her new and selected poems, Lilies from America, is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her critical study is Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile, and her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University, UK. Bugan, who was the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, lectures at universities, international book fairs and conferences, and has been a guest on current affairs and history programs on the BBC, ABC, NPR, The Foreign Desk (Monocle, London).
Carmen Bugan

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Author: Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan, a George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of four poetry collections, a memoir, and a critical study. Her new and selected poems, Lilies from America, is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her critical study is Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile, and her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University, UK. Bugan, who was the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, lectures at universities, international book fairs and conferences, and has been a guest on current affairs and history programs on the BBC, ABC, NPR, The Foreign Desk (Monocle, London).