Saturday, July 23, 2005

Urban Shadow

Today, I actually posted a story wirelessly with a very weak signal.

I was going to parade my success on the glory of it all.

Just as I was getting ready to save the draft, it went into cyberpurgatory.

So, more on that later.

A bright promising post is approaching.

This is from

Tirades And Evidence Of Grace,
Plain View Press, 1992

I was traveling across a vibrant plain,
green, on a walk that ran alongside a
wide road where cars, buses and trolleys
exchanged in endless chains of motion.
Wires strung up high above the metropolis
connected micro to macro, small to large.

I saw oversized sky scrapers on the far
side of a ravine I recognized from childhood
and the shadows they cast out spread waves
of darkness and desolation
-sharp contrast to bright green healing growing plants.
And I was moving toward the shadow.

The instant I crossed into it
darkness became so vast I lost direction,
froze. It was completely unfinished
- black, empty and cold. It was the rough
shadow of the psyche, of humankind, of winter
solstice, the underside of history.

It was my shadow, a projection from my
soul, my wall, my problem, my chaotic heart,
my instant of terror and I felt it engulf
me in a total emptiness more
powerful than the white light
which I have also seen.

Often since then I have sat curled up,
arms wrapped around knees, and rocked,
aching for something ending, reeling
from shock, trembling in anger at people
I hardly know, crying, shrieking.
I can barely function.

I suppose it was a vision.
I suppose there is a message on the far side
of the darkness I need to understand
or decode. But I have felt defeated
and minuscule since I felt the power of
the shadow, and how cold it is.
I think it can kill me.

I think it is your shadow too.
I think it can kill you and your children
and my children and everything I understand.
I think it is my fault.
I think it is your fault.
I think it has mass and is a tangible
result of a logic that shuts down the heart.

┬ęSusan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Susan Bright poem is magnificent. She touches a place in my heart that I have been to recently. I feel this shadow - a slow rolling fog of despair that blankets the land and smothers everything in its path.

It also evokes in me a resistance to collapsing into that darkness - a call to keep my heart open and unarmored. Not to give in. To keep seeing the light, the possibilities and to work for change in my own small sphere of influence and to speak the truth when it would be so easy to turn a blind eye and live in the fantasy that all is well.

It is a reminder that we must support one another. It is so easy to get overwhelmed.

Thanks.

8:37 AM  

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