In contrast to the bright reds and oranges of upcoming Halloween, the poem by Emily Dickinson with words beginning, “Lightly stepped a yellow star” tells of a celestial dancer celebrating an “evening softly lit”.

Might the stars that twinkle in a night sky be seen as ballerinas in yellow tu-tus?   These yellow stars are not just any old dancers, but light-stepping “twinkle-toes” in a “lofty place”.

Lightly stepped a yellow star

To its lofty place

Loosed the Moon her silver hat

From her lustral Face

All of evening softly lit

As an Astral Hall

Father I observed to Heaven

You are punctual —

As children stare into the heavens, it is fun to imagine little yellow ballet dancers freed from the nuisance of gravity.

The moon, like a mother, is the night’s overseeing authority, who lets down her hair: “Loosed the Moon her silver hat/From her lustral Face”. The effect is to see all our world below “As an Astral Hall” where depth of feeling matches the same old song of Father’s Heaven.

An accompanying adult (more like a child than not, to speak of God as Father) may stare into the night sky, “observed to Heaven”, with worries, sorrows or questions. The punctuality of a disciplined ballet toe-step echoes my perception of God’s exactness. “You are punctual —”

What often feels severe in the face of my own desires, the unprejudiced law of nature is always on display in the heavens. The cycles of the moon, the stars and the earth are reassuringly predictable.  


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way