Friday, March 31, 2006

The Darkness Within

This poem, written in the summer of 2001, marked one of my "awakening" moments -- which generally have been too few and too far between. It was one of the last poems I wrote before I stopped writing poems.












The Darkness Within

It goes unnamed, invisible like crows
in the pure darkness just before
first light, just before

awareness stops: that nervous
dance the mind does
when it wishes to evade,

the same way a shadow
prays for clouds
to block the sun’s revealing light

so that it may hide.
In these quiet ways
a thing goes unnamed

and therefore lacks form --
a body to be held,
eyes in which to stare --

unnamed, until the moment
the lone dance stops.
Bare feet on wet grass,

arms hanging at my side,
a silence, clouds clearing
to reveal sun. Three crows

watch me in curiosity, unsure
how to regard this human
who raises his arms

and stands like a cross,
very still, his shadow stretching
behind him, trying to escape.

And even crows grow bored
and disappear
into the late afternoon. I stand

with my face to the sun,
eyes closed, knowing
for the first time in my life

the darkness within me
is fertile, has water and soil
and its own strange light,

not as we know light,
but a warm radiance.
And things grow

in this darkness, they live
and breathe, and die,
and no matter what I’ve been told

it can be named, and has a name
I’ve known my whole life,
a name they said means nothing

but it does, it means everything.
This darkness, this living, breathing
darkness within me: my soul.


[image source]
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