Light and Dark
Now that we are emerging from the darkness and silence imposed by COVID – it's easy to get a feeling of having been snatched up and set down on a stage as an actor in a huge drama of cosmic proportions – actually in it, and of it. More than ever, even as a poet, I find myself noticing light and dark, sound and silence as if they were persons, not just abstract terms, and also I keep feeling a need to re-define and re-connect these enormous ideas to one another by way of smaller things, just in case a more hopeful picture of the future will show itself.
All of 2020 and into 2021 has been at the very least a painful reminder of our relationship to sound and light. For awhile, “light” no longer seemed bearable in its old form. Here is Macbeth expressing fear of daylight:
And so, we did – scarf up. And close ourselves off from one another to the point of highest anguish and fury. We did not go gently into this night. We obeyed and disobeyed, like Adam and Eve who long ago were accused of a sin called “disobedience,” when they didn't even know what the word meant.
But surely we should have known more. Like Riddley Walker in Russell Hoban's post-apocalyptic novel, we found a sudden desperate need to understand “nite” more fully again, in the way of our less “civilized” ancestors from the stone age:
Listening back to the wisdom of the stones, when humans carefully arranged them into geometric patterns that we intuitively felt as a way to connect ourselves to and mimic the larger cosmos. We were matter-of-factly taking on our assigned role to help keep the whole universe active and alive.
Here is James Richardson, from his 63-part poem The Encyclopedia of the Stones: #21
And from #6: