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After a long day filled with people,
I finally step into the night alone,
walking across the thin fingers of the descending
moon breaking through swaying sycamores,
when a warm solitude slowly covers my body
like an old and treasured coat.

Following the lighted, chiseled tree line
bracing the narrow country road into the hills,
I watch the shadows of feeding horses,
their large bodies standing like statues of
a vanished civilization in the dark field,
while I hear the faint echo of voices
from the house and the bright moon whispers
of closeness and distance, of the promise
of love and the pleasure of solitude.

When the dirt road turns into a washed-out
creek bed with boulders and tree trunks
tossed into a playing field of great storms,
I stop and listen to the neighing horses
down the slope. I sense their soft nostrils
and their warm velvet necks, and when I look
toward the lighted windows, I recognize their
pull for the stable for home, the deep desire of
returning to a place where one is known.


Hans Jorg Stahlschmidt is a German writer and psychologist who lives in Berkeley, California in 1982. He works as a building contractor as well as a clinical psychologist. His poetry has won several prizes and has appeared in many journals and anthologies, among them Madison Review, Atlanta Review, Manoa, Texas Poetry Review and the Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry.

© 2010, Hans Jorg Stahlschmidt

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