The fireflies who drifted on summer evening’s
Warm and reassuring dark
And seemed to my young eyes a thousand
Tiny boats afloat on sunset’s lapis sea
Called to us still playing hide and seek
To keep night’s magic dancing in the air.
And though the sky grew darker
With each moment’s passing
I teased and hid and kicked and screamed
At being called and sent to bed.
I’d plead for just a minute more
But knew full well the time had come
To rest before tomorrow’s break.
In later years in smoke-filled clubs
We danced until the sky grew pale
And as the morning sun replaced the fractured light
Of spinning mirror balls, we laughed and screamed
And pleaded for that one last song
But knew the folly of our chants, as time had come
To face the day that blazed outside beyond
The neon and the strobes.
And now although my world has moved indoors
And withered limbs defy my dance,
Despite a life that shrinks at nearly every bend
I’ll plead for just a minute more
And hide and plead and kick and scream
But know that I am being called
To rest again in cool but reassuring dark.
John Humpstone grew up on Long Island. After graduating from Pratt Institute, he became an interior designer and was one of the founders of Lexington Gardens, a design and garden store in Manhattan. A lifelong artist and writer and a lively conversationalist, he wrote this poem when he knew he was dying of AIDS, and left it behind unpublished. John died on June 23rd, 1996, a few days before his 40th birthday.
This poem is not previously published.