Some people are comets, God.
They make a grand entrance
and light up the sky with a brilliant glow.
They might come round only every seventy-five years or so,
but when they do the whole world comes out to watch;
and they leave a tail behind them that glows, glows, glows . . .
and then they're gone.
I'm just a street lamp, God.
My glow isn't so bright.
I never make an entrance.
I'm just there.
No fanfare. No hoopla.
I'm just there.
someone stops and leans against me just to rest a bit,
or to read directions they wrote on some piece of paper they pull
from their pocket.
Once in a while I burn out
and people cuss me
and call the city to complain.
The scary streets are a bit less scary when I'm there,
and people stumble less when I'm around.
But it feels so small what I do,
compared to those comets.
People wait for them.
They study them.
No one studies me.
Comets never seem to burn out
and no one calls the city on them.
I . . . I long to be a comet sometimes.
To blaze a trail across the sky with the whole world looking on
and taking pictures to show their grandchildren.
When comets land they leave big footprints
and everyone knows where they've been;
and sometimes they put markers there so no one will forget.
People only notice me when they're in trouble;
when it gets too dark to see what they're doing
or too scary to walk alone.
I don't light up the sky,
only a little corner of the earth.
So little, so small . . .
It would be great to be a comet--
to make a splash!
a child told me,
a young child just a fraction of my age . . .
(Praised be you, Lord of heaven and earth,
for what you've kept hidden from the learned and clever . . . !)
. . . the child told me
that splashes dry up . . .
and comets go away.
Small comfort, God, that at least I'm there.
But, God, at least I'm there.— Graziano Marcheschi in Wheat & Weeds and the Wolf of Gubbio