in a dark time


For various reasons, I’ve been unable to finish any more of the writings I’ve been working on.  This poem seemed a particularly fitting – and superior – substitute. To me, it captures the sense of a potentially creative space that we, humankind, find ourselves in and that we might refind ourselves through, for we are not one but One.

I hope it speaks to you as it does to me.

In a Dark Time

by Theodore Roethke


In a dark time, the eye begins to see,

I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;   

I hear my echo in the echoing wood—

A lord of nature weeping to a tree.

I live between the heron and the wren,   

Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.


What’s madness but nobility of soul

At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!   

I know the purity of pure despair,

My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.   

That place among the rocks—is it a cave,   

Or winding path? The edge is what I have.


A steady storm of correspondences!

A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,   

And in broad day the midnight come again!   

A man goes far to find out what he is—

Death of the self in a long, tearless night,   

All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.


Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.   

My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,   

Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?

A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.   

The mind enters itself, and God the mind,   

And one is One, free in the tearing wind.