The Holy Book of Barbecue

~ E M R E S S


26. In a dark time

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 days 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 a 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. 



by Theodore Roethke​

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