After Reading Ezekiel 33, the Astrologer Writes to His Father

Santa Barbara, California
December 1970

Dear Father,
It’s midnight,
and I’ve been
walking alone
in a winter’s drizzle.
I can barely see the stars,
though I know their language
still speaks wonders.
Do they not mark
the eternal turning
of time?
Do they not tell
the stories and tales
of every lonely traveler?

Yet I must confess, Father,
when charting their endless turning,
I have never really known
how the center of the sun
burns as the heart of truth,
and today — well,
today, I tremble….

For today, Father,
I must ask you this:
Who has the right to prophesy
from the innocence
of a man’s beginnings
without tearing down the shield
that covers the mystery
of his ways?

They who embrace my tales
leave coins in the basket
and then walk away.
Did I not take silver to play
the Watchman in their lives?
Then, did I sound the warning right
before I broke the yoke
between them and me?
Was I but a dissonant horn
that never warned a soul
of a coming sword
upon their house?

So now, My Father,
I must close
the logbook of transits
and confounding signs
and unhinged degrees,
for, in the end, I have drawn
knots of divergent circles,
and I tremble.

I will return
to my home
where the sun arises
to begin again —
where I once opened
the nighttime windows
to listen for
the clean, clear sounds
of coyotes howling
at the ever-mysterious
moon
and the
bewildering stars.

Don Cadwallader

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