Variations on a Theme

darkedinburgh_shadow

Variations on a Theme

1. The Long Night

We envy the shadow its attributes, its willingness to subside,
but what of its flesh?

I lay in the field and wept.

Think of the fragrance, the moist leaves
enveloping the still

warm body. In retrospect, I realize that I should never have left, that air
returns to voided space despite all attempts to disavow

light, that wind and rain and soil alike filter through the chestโ€™s
cavity, that stones may bear oneโ€™s touch in perpetuity.

At nineteen, death had gifted nothing to my world.
At twenty, little else remained.

So close, so lovely.

2. The Loneliness of Shadows

Light collapsing around a point. The two-headed flower.

In my dreams, no one speaks.

Not the thing itself, the bud bursting forth, petals ablaze with color,
but rather change: the process reinforced.

Sleep seldom shows such kindness.

Or its fruit, redolent of sun and rain, withdrawn and shriveled,
and finally, ingested.

Yesterday I woke damp but unafraid.

3. Alchemy

Stones never talk, but they rise from the earth, appearing as if by invitation.

The way silence lines an unfilled
grave, which is to say as below

so above, an infinite murmur open to the night.
And other notions: transpiration.

Waste.
Sublimation. Calcination and burning.

At times I have withdrawn
like water from the airโ€™s

body, fearful yet reckless in the act.
That evening the moon flickered and the shadows lay at our feet,

and all the words we never framed,
the bitters our tongues could not know, the wasted

music and abandoned caresses, those words,
sighed into the ground, leaving you adrift, alone.

But how else might one transform darkness to light?
Or the reverse.

huey_ef

This originally appeared in Boston Poetry Magazine in April, 2014, and was first posted here in July of 2015..

33 thoughts on “Variations on a Theme

  1. Beautiful, profound words. Having worked in hospitals when much younger, I’ve taken more than one body to the morgue, people I have talked with and liked, including one young man and one child, and my mother, with whom I sat on that last day. Life, which is long, really is rather short, then ends. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i don’t quite know why but there is a sense of disembodiment, as if the theme is being deconstructed, dismantled to look inside, to figure it out. it reminds me of what Ted Hughes does with the physical poem in his book Crow, where poems start in stanzas then drift apart to broken lines as if the fabric of meaning, the reality of the poem even was coming apart.

    Liked by 1 person

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