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Posts Tagged ‘dark’

For a Moment


It’s the kind of night I wish for a firefly.
The fact that they don’t live here
doesn’t stop me from wishing.
Is it so wrong to want some small proof
of light in the darkness?

What I really want? Proof of miracles.
Proof of life beyond life.
Oh world, you’ve given me proof.
And I want more.

Perhaps it would be more poetic
if I could find my own bioluminescence—
even a metaphoric inner light.
Instead, I find my own wanting.
Hello wanting.
Hello wishing for something that isn’t here.

Because there are no fireflies,
I conjure the memory of fireflies.
Because there are no fireflies,
I sit in the darkness—how vast it is.
How full of dignity. How humbling.

I sit in the darkness until the darkness
scrubs me of me, until the darkness
feels like a proof for miracles,
until infinite space rushes in,
until for a moment
I forget how to wish for anything but what is.

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September Night




The mountain air forgets to be cold,
and my daughter and I walk in the dark
beside the river. I almost can’t see,
yet thanks to starlight,
we step over roots, over rocks.
There are moments,
even whole chapters of our lives,
when we understand how the smallest
bit of light makes a difference.  
Tonight, we are laughing,
singing as we go.
Trust, too, is a kind of light.
In this dark moment, it is all I see.

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Mycelial




Now I understand how grief
is like a mushroom—
how it thrives in dark conditions.
How it springs directly
from what is dead.
Such a curious blossoming thing,
how it rises and unfurls
in spontaneous bourgeoning,
a kingdom all its own.

Like a mushroom,
most of grief is never seen.
It grows and expands beneath everything.
Sometimes it stays dormant for years.

Grief, like a mushroom,
can be almost unbearably beautiful,
even exotic, delicate, veiled,
can arrive in any shape and hue.
It pulls me closer in.

Like a mushroom, grief
asks me to travel to regions
of shadow and dim.
I’m astonished by what I find—
mystery, abundance, insight.
Like a mushroom, grief
can be wildly generative.
Not all growth takes place
in the light.

This poem was published in ONE ART: A Journal of Poetry on 9/11/22

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To Face the Dark




To face the dark,
one does not need a light.
Nor does one need a watch,
a feather, a melody, a sword, a pen.
One doesn’t even need a friend.
To face the dark,
one needs only to face the dark.
There is something easier then
about the facing, when we know
we need no preparation.
Nothing is asked of us except
the willingness to face the dark,
the willingness to pause
in that moment when we
cannot see, cannot know,
cannot float on the sea of habit,
cannot fly on the feathers of routine.
But already, I’ve taken this too far.
It’s so simple, the invitation,
that it’s easy to miss what is asked.
Not a journey. Not even a step.
Just the chance to face the dark,
to meet yourself in that facing—
and to notice what being erased
and what’s doing the erasing.  

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Night Walk


            for Lara and the Dark


Some conversations prefer the dark,
so, long after sundown we walk
in the nearby field
where a wide path’s been cut
through tall grass gone to seed
and there’s just enough starlight
to make out the twin dirt ruts
where we can walk side by side.
I love conversing this way,
when the dark is less a setting
and more a partner in conversation—
as if nothing we say
could ever make it stop holding us,
as if it will listen for as long as we speak,
as if it will fill in any gaps
with its own simple syntax
of infinite ink. And so we walk,
you, me, and the gentle dark.
When we finally return to the light-warm home,
a little midnight comes in with us
and joins us for sleepytime tea.
It seems to know not even a whisper is needed,
just the certainty that we are being heard,
truly heard, the way
only an old best friend can listen,
and there’s nothing we can’t say.

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There is comfort in knowing
that every year
since the earth was made
there has been
a longest day of the year—
a day when half of all life
wakes to an abundance of light
and then in that moment
of greatness leans again
toward the dark.
There is comfort in knowing
the light comes, the light leaves,
the light comes, the light leaves,
comfort in knowing
all the light that is
reaches toward us,
whether we can see it or not.
It is simply a matter
of staying out of our own way,
and if we can’t do that,
well, that is what patience is for.

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Long after our eyes adjusted
to the small, round beams of light
that shined on thick white columns
and reflected the rings of drips into shallow pools,
after we’d become accustomed
to the resonant dim,
at last we found a place to sit
and turned off our lights
and listened to the dark.
The only sound, the astonished heart,
persistent breath, and the drip,
drip, drip of stalactites doing their patient work.
How I longed to bring us all
into the cave where we are forced to forget
any differences the light might suggest.
How I loved the way my senses stretched out
to feel the other beating hearts.
Imagine we could do this every night—
could feel the other hearts in the dark,
all of them beating like our own.
Imagine no storms could touch us.
Imagine we forgot it could ever be any other way—
your heart, my heart, beating wild,
listening for each other.

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Sometimes, when I fear
the small light I bring
isn’t big enough or bright
enough, I think of that night
on the beach years ago
when every step I took
in the cool wet sand turned
a glowing, iridescent blue—
and the waves themselves
were a flashing greenish hue—
imagine we could do
what 7.9 billion
one-celled plankton can do—
can shine when it’s dark,
can shine when agitated,
can shine with our own
inner light and trust when we all
bring the tiny light we have,
it’s enough to illumine the next step
in the long stretch of night.
 
 
 
 

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Tonight I fall in love with the mirliton
in the blue and white tutu—the way
she leaps, the way she angles her arm.
Not that I didn’t love her before
when she was a soldier, when she
was a snowflake, when she was a bon bon
or an angel in frothy white fluff. But tonight,
more than anything, it is her smile
that makes me weep in row H.
Because it is real, her joy in the chassé,
the grande jeté, the pas de bourrée.
Because her joy is my joy. Because
I know what she’s danced through
to get to this stage where that smile
spreads across her face like the sunrise
the first morning after winter solstice—
an essential, growing light aware of the dark,
just learning what it can do.

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Don’t even try to be strong.
            —Salli Russell


There are some who, when
they turn toward the light
become the light. But we know,
too, the power of turning
toward despair, toward
heartache, toward grief,
toward loss, toward defenselessness,
a journey in a minor key,
and this, too, is an invitation
to lean in and open until,
informed by the darkness,
we find ourselves shining,
luminous from within.

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