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Posts Tagged ‘darkness’

 

 

There are darknesses in me,

places I would disregard.

Is it any wonder every year

I plant thousands of tiny seeds

and then wander the garden,

rooting for each as overnightly

they put up rows of tiny leaves.

How easily I forget what is possible.

 

 

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Sumatra

 

 

I want to serve you Sumatra,

the wild, mossy, mushroomy

dark of it. I want to serve you

 

the muted black song in a white cup,

so you can, if you listen closely,

hear the birds of Southeast Asia

 

with their foreign calls,

hear the farmer as he hums

while he picks the coffee cherry,

 

as he removes its dark red skin.

I want to serve you the scent of moss,

so strong you find yourself laying in it,

 

staring up at the sky through

the canopy, laying there for hours

forgetting anything else to do.

 

Will you find there, too,

the hint of old leather, a favorite

belt, a favorite shoe, something

 

familiar to slip into? Dark in the cup,

dark like midnight, dark like two a.m., dark

like the silence that finds the world then.

 

Dark in the cup, like fathomless space

where a small voice whispers, stay awake.

And there, in the cup, the gift of a place

 

where we have never been, but

together, perhaps, we could sip the Sumatra

and visit again and again.

 

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I am afraid of the darkness and the hole in it.

            —Martin Luther, “Luther”

 

 

And when Martin Luther was struck with plague

in 1527, he refused to leave the city, though he trembled,

though he burned. He felt it was the devil’s assault

sent to reduce him with despair. And reduced, he was.

There is darkness so great we lose all sense of direction,

forget even which way is in. There is darkness

so great that even the holes in the darkness are terrible,

cannot be seen as light. And in that terrible August,

the Reformer argued with God. And all that terrible August,

Luther trusted God’s promises. And he told himself,

Pray. Read. Sing. And the darkness endured.

Sometimes, Luther found, there are darknesses

so great we forget how to sing ourselves. Sometimes,

the only way through darkness, through doubt,

is to teach other people to sing.

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and so we rise in darkness

and let our bodies move

without the blare of light.

The house is still and we

are somehow changed

by stillness, changed

by dark. As if we’ve

grown pads in our feet.

As if we are learning

a new silent language

with our limbs, a language

more graceful, more awake.

We find candles. Find

matches. Let the tiny lights

find us. For a thousand years

in Egypt, they wrote

and rewrote The Book

of Emerging Forth into the Light,

a series of writings we somehow came

to call The Book of the Dead.

All the spells were written

to help the dead person journey

through hostile forces

into the afterlife.

And this morning, we

are our only obstacles.

Still, the candles

are a bit like spells,

guiding us with their brilliant ink

toward dawn. There

are no warnings, no judgements,

no naming of evil spirits.

Only this new language

to learn with its syntax

of carbon, it etymologies

of shadow, its phonemes

of coming light.

 

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in the dark

you lose track

of any lines

that say

you are here

and the night

holds you

like a lover

with hands

somehow

everywhere,

and the stars

keep thousands

of secrets

and sometimes

they spill,

and if you have

a question,

it comes to meet you

whether or not

you’ve dared

to ask it.

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My child, I say, you need not fear the night—

its unlit corners, rooms of dim unknown—

the darkness helps us learn beyond the light.

 

But mom, how do I know that you’re alright

if I can’t see you? I feel so alone.

My child, I say, there’s goodness in the night.

 

The dark erases any lines we might

have drawn, makes all the world appear as one.

The dark helps us to see beyond the light.

 

But mom, I don’t feel safe without my sight.

What if there’s monsters, spiders, things that groan?

My child, I say, there’s kindness in the night.

 

You feel how darkness holds the whole world tight?

Embracing every human, creature, stone—

the darkness helps us reach beyond the light.

 

It hugs us all, despite our wrongs, our rights,

inviting everyone into its home.

My child, I say, you need not fear the night—

the darkness helps us love beyond the light.

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night, don’t end so soon—

so many stars

yet to wish on

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We used to sing

You are my sunshine,

sang it like

a children’s song,

all glitter and wing.

That was before

we knew

how dark it can get,

sky without stars,

night without moon.

Even the brightest songs

can be sung in a minor key.

That is no reason

to stop singing.

That’s the time

to ask someone

to dance, please,

slow, your bodies

practicing how

to make light.

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One of the rooms

in the longest night

has an empty chair

and an open book—

and in the book

is an empty page

full of light—

if you read it

long enough

you might forget

what an hour is,

or night,

forget all stories

besides this one,

older than scripture,

where everything

is possible.

 

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How

 

 

Darkness lands in my lap

on all fours, curls up and purrs—

I learn to miss

its weightless weight

when it leaves,

learn to be more still

so it will stay,

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