A Reflection of Beauty in Washington
by Jimmy Carter
I recall one winter night
going to the White House roof
to study the Orion nebulae,
but we could barely see the stars,
their images so paled by city lights.
Suddenly we heard a sound
primeval in its tone and rhythm
coming from the northern sky.
We turned to watch in silence
long wavering V’s,
breasts transformed to brilliance
by the lights we would have dimmed.
The geese passed overhead,
and then without a word
we went down to a peaceful sleep,
marveling at what we’d seen and heard.
NOTE: “A Reflection of Beauty in Washington” appears in Jimmy Carter’s poetry collection Always a Reckoning and Other Poems (1994).
PHOTO: Geese flying over Washington, DC, with the Washington Monument, right, and the United States Capitol in the background. Photo by Lance Erickson, used by permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jimmy Carter is an American politician, philanthropist, and former farmer who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center, which he established in 1982 to promote and expand human rights. He has written over 30 books, ranging from political memoirs to poetry, while continuing to actively comment on ongoing American and global affairs.