Poem: The Myth of Light


The Myth of Light

The window is covered with bars and spider webs.
An atmosphere of neglect fills your nostrils,
damp and cold and dusty.

This has been your home for too long,
this dank prison where you were left for dead
so many years ago.

This is where you wallowed,
where you railed in the night,
like a madman at the moon.

This is where you surrendered to the reality
of your abandonment and neglect,
surrender, but never quite, quite, acceptance.

And then, like Dantes began your re-education,
learning to read in the dark, painting in the dark,
masterpieces that would never see the light of day,

finding your strength in the dark,
where no one, not even your fellow prisoners,
perhaps especially them, could see.

Your eyes though, never adapted to the dark,
never accepted it. Your own frailness, yes,
but never the falsehood that darkness was eternal.

“I will not die here.” has become your mantra,
and each day you probed your walls,
you cleared your windows,

you found the rust and weakness of your captors
and pitted your weakness against theirs,
your only strength your persistence.

And persistence, it turned out, was enough,
more valuable than talent or intelligence,
more enduring.

And so you find yourself here, at the moment
where the bars begin at last to break,
where light ceases to be a myth and becomes something




About this poem

There have been times in my depression when I thought joy and life were out of reach.

They are not,


PS: Dantes is the hero of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas,  my favorite novel.  While it is a novel of justice and revenge, and I am not wired for revenge, the part of the novel where Dantes is in prison, and yet finds himself and grows into a formidible presence until given the chance to escape, has always been an inspiration to me.

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