Dark Room

Imagery and symbolism in our lives has lost some of the power and sacred pop that once illuminated human lives, when common religious symbols were recognized by the majority of any given society. If we can catch some of that numinous echo in photographic images or in words, then our work pushes us all forward. Of course, one person's numenousity (not a real word) is another person's "eh"..... The fun comes in experimenting in where that little extra zing can be found. Garbage, fast food sign, shivering aspens, cloudy day, dead flower... etc. Let's look for it though.






This afternoon the careless spring went cold

In an Irish hour on the poet’s death,

A golden squall became a silver breath

As hail’s distemper set a halo

Upon the reader’s intent and inclined soul.


Once my puzzled toddler asked me

“When did they invent the world in color,

and wasn’t black and white sad then and duller?”

So it was, (and Poland, to this day we see

In grainy increments of silver, iodine and tea.)


The snowstorm bears his observation out,

The black treetops, thrashing, beg for

Kinder dreams, they rock and tear their hair or

Pull vast pearling clouds to carry down,

A sigh, and snow stoops swiftly like the hungry owl --


Softly, softly, gentle, professional as night.

It’s no coincidence to drop Spring’s call in

A place where flakes or ashes are the only tint,

Moonstone glow of snow and evening light --

A February, snaring, merciless Lenten plight.


For this storm in all its miserable grace

Has added cold white frosting to

Smooth the naked layers as they cool

On my fiftieth vanilla layer cake,

And set a placid counterpane on my unquiet race.


Lying under the down coverlet I found

Twenty-seven emerging lines, rivulets, thin

Etchings on fading damp-marked skin.

I hate and fear them, snaking bitter down

And hate the vanity, my own evil circling round.


Now the shimmering snow-born reflections

(to disappoint the bulbs again,

As one Irish playwright did explain,

Speaking of our final resurrections)

Comforts by erasing all my childish imperfections,


And seals the wet earth in a chemical bath,

(For water pools on the periodic table.)

Snow makes moonlight the darkroom in the fable

And brings the glimmering shroud of old Anath

To wind a million crystals on the desert path.


If black and white erases nature’s flaws

And makes it easier to impale the flight

Of swans and shadows moving toward the light,

Then perhaps the snowfall comes because

It takes this much magic to give me pause.

limiting focus