Paired up with another of Stephen Locke’s spectacular photos, this is the poem I plan to read at the Kansas Citizens for the Arts meeting today.
Seeing In The Dark
Barn’s burnt down
I can see the moon
— Masahide, 1657-1723
After the fire, where next to turn?
Not the old words, aged with bitterness
or despair. Not habitual angers and griefs.
Not just a reflection of anyone’s new ideas.
But what’s right here: wind rising
through a tower of cottonwood.
Cicadas motoring their 17 year song.
Golden moon half revealed by
the silver of the passing cloud.
Good things, bad things happen.
News dissolves our vision of the world.
Not say what’s lost doesn’t make us ache
or strip our days of reds so vibrant
we forget what we were thinking.
But whatever is lost also brings us to this window
composed of the lush darkness, the rush
of wind or rain through the leaves,
the sudden chill dissolving the hot
anger or anguish, the pain of the questions that,
left unanswered, might divide us.
The music of the old house outlives the house.
We will make new murals out of the ruins,
mosaics from all that’s broken, stone soup
at the center of our next feast.
Nothing in this world vanishes.
Even ghosts, loved enough, turn into angels.
The dark shows us what calls
not at the edge of what we sense
but from the center of where we live.
Nothing can take away the power of the real.