Far Down the River of Darkness

December 3, 2012 at 10:26 am  •  Posted in Favorites, Poetry by  •  0 Comments

river in darkness (imsticking.com)This is not the first time that I have written about darkness. This theme continues to return to my writing, just as night returns to me each day as I head for bed.

At first, it may seem depressing (or dark, or morose, or teenage angst-like) to write about the night or darkness or the unseen parts of ourselves, but darkness is not always a bad thing.

Take a walk outside at night without a flashlight. After a few moments, you will realize that you are not really “cut off” from the world. You are actually immersed in it.

I think Ranier Maria Rilke explains it best (in one of my favorite poems):

I love the dark hours of my being.

Far Down the River of Darkness

In darkness, far down the river of darkness,
when darkness doesn’t shimmer
like a mirror pierced by life,
when there is no head, or body, or mouth,
when darkness flows gently in some places,
churns in other places,
and in some places
stands still
like a cool pool
under a fallen tree,
rippling along the edge,
smooth as glass inside,
the night wives come.
They come and go,
walking across the damp grass
in rubber shoes.
Their feet in rubber shoes
make a swish-swish motion.
Their minds roil,
but their bodies
don’t make
a sound.


Poem: Far Down the River of Darkness © 2013 by Shawn Radcliffe

Modeled after a story by Jimaica Kincaid, “In the Night” (from Robert Olmstead’s Elements of the Writing Craft)

Photo: River in Darkness by Imsticking

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