At Twilight

My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Going gently...

I was fortunate to have had him as my English Literature teacher my freshman year in high school. It embarrasses me that I forgot his name. Thinking back, I can attest with some assurance that he was a spitting image of the cinematic Harry Potter (albeit a wee bit older). What I vividly remember is that he ignited my passion for poetry.

It’s not that I had been oblivious to poetry. I (along with my entire third-grade class) had memorized Joyce Kilmer’s “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.” There were Browning, Dickinson, Emerson, Longfellow and Whitman, too. Poems selected by well-meaning elders as something to be studied by innocents.

I had not realized there were poems of sterner stuff until this singular teacher opened my eyes. He introduced me to Dylan Thomas, this Welshman addressing his father:

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That line: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” stayed with me my entire life. It served as a clarion call. And, had I been so blessed to have had the opportunity to clutch my Father’s hand as he was dying, I’ve no doubt I would have whispered these very words to him...
hoping, begging, pleading and praying he could take them to heart.

As Fate would have it, that was not to be.

Fast forward twenty-plus years. This poem, these words, no longer resonate within this orphan.

I will have none of this, this burning and raving, crying and raging.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to shed my mortal coil any sooner than necessary. There’s waaaay too much to savor still. Still. I see the light atop the exit door on the other side of the dance floor flashing.

This angry youth, driven professional, tortured soul and passionate heart seeks only peace. Peace enough to savor all there is to be savored. Peace enough to lie in bed at end of day accepting all that was and is to be...with gratitude.

* * *

Monday, September 06, 2010


I got this feeling I struggled to identify and name. I’ve felt it niggling at me, then gnawing, for months now. A vulnerability I can’t quite describe.

For a while there, I thought it was the consequence of too much heartache. For a few too many years for my own good, I was lost in an emotional crucible filled to overflowing with searing pain too destructively volcanic, too blinding to perceive clearly. I had come to believe that just one more dollop of misery would lead to a galactic implosion.

But that hasn’t happened, though additional blows rain down.

The word “fragile” came to mind often enough. Physical pain provides ample incentive to baby aching joint, tendon or muscle. So, yes, I feel a mite fragile nowadays...but that’s not the whole of it.

As September heralds the season of long shadows, what I’ve come to believe is that I’m beginning to understand the leaf in autumn.

A leaf’s stint is short in duration but magnificent in scope. From the bud that bursts towards the sun, through fulgent growth, through trying days of wind, rain and heat, the leaf is Life manifest. But days grow short. With the diminutions of daylight’s radiance, the leaf morphs, becomes sere. It is fated to become...brittle. So brittle, in fact, that it loses grasp on tree and falls to ground. There to rest, eventually buried, to replenish the soil and nurture new Life.

This kindred spirit to the leaf is becoming brittle.

* * *

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Night Music

long after dark,
windows open
to cold vague breezes,
one hears
faraway tires
crunch on gravel
doves cry
leaves murmur
in the rain.

Life’s cello

* * *

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones