(How The Darkness Calls)

William Stapleton

For Joyce

There is darkness
            Down there, a few short steps away.
I walk inward, darkward
            Stepping in, or conjuring up
            Which is easier to say?
                        Same ending either way.

I reason it cold;
            absence of warm embracing light
yet find in here a memory, old
            and comfortable. I put it on,
            familiar, friendly, hopeless sight.
                        Slip into the night.

Steps down
            I take with ease. I know them all too well.
Alone, I now begin to drown, life-breath shallowing
            Yet convinced it is but solitude I seek
            Fall sweetly ‘neath that spell, how deep,
   I cannot tell.

Down here
            Enrapt in precious silence, where I think I can
write, or sing  as catches fancy
            Although here seems so different than
            while yet up there I deign to plan.
                        They fail and falter here; my best laid plans.
Given as I am
            To this dark life, I climb those stairs again.
Faith to find, I squint, near blind,
            Behold the landscape!  New creation!
            “Here is life!” words ring, and over that will to turn around I gain.
                        Here I can stand, and for a time refrain.

And yet she calls
            That one beloved since youth: solitude; darkness may
have her way; it could come, I fear
            the day I turn not away from her
            but in her warm embrace – clutches of death they be – I stay
                        Still, ablaze in morning light, I say: “Not today.”

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Skotos (How the Darkness Calls) by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.