Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Copious Dark

by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

She used to love the darkness, how it brought
Closer the presence of flesh, the white arms and breast
Of a stranger in a railway carriage a dim glow—
Or the time when the bus drew up at a woodland corner
And a young black man jumped off, and a shade
Moved among shades to embrace him under the leaves—


Every frame of a lit window, the secrets bared—
Books packed warm on a wall—each blank shining blind,
Each folded hush of shutters without a glimmer,
Even the sucked-sweet tones of neon reflected in rain
In insomniac towns, boulevards where the odd light step
Was a man walking alone: they would all be kept,

Those promises, for people not yet in sight:
Wellsprings she still kept searching for after the night
When every wall turned yellow. Questing she roamed
After the windows she loved, and again they showed
The back rooms of bakeries, the clean engine-rooms and all
The floodlit open yards where a van idled by a wall,

A wall as long as life, as long as work.
The blighted
Shuttered doors in the wall are too many to scan—
As many as the horses in the royal stable, as the lighted
Candles in the grand procession? Who can explain
Why the wasps are asleep in the dark in their numbered holes
And the lights shine all night in the hospital corridors?


please note: art by Stephen Armstrong, Hospital at Night

2 comments:

  1. When I would arrive for my 7 AM shift in the ICU, I'd look up at the windows to see what kind of night the midnight shift had. If it looked relatively dark, it wasn't so bad. If it was lit up in certain areas, I knew it was going to be a busy day. Hospitals sometimes sleep, but not always; especially in ICUs.

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  2. That poem just keeps opening more spaces and more spaces. The light at the end is like a slap - such a contrast!

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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)