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Duet of Shade & Light[1]

Light doth Trample on my Days[2]

Screaming Candle Burns Whitely Scorching Smoke[3]

Hid within the Lump of Clay a Light more Terrible than Day[4]

Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare – Gigantic circling Spotlight[5]

Perhaps the Light is a New Tyranny – who knows what New Things it will Show?[6]

A Bright, Blinding, Exotic Beacon – Obliterates Everything we live by[7]

What the New Light does is really to Show him Too Much[8]

Dark Heart Breaks under Light’s Prick[9]

The Light Blinds me to the Light[10]


You want it Darker we Kill the Flame[11]

The Form Obscures the Light itself – and Destroys it[12]

Wind up that Light in Ribbands – and o’ercloud in Night[13]

The Landscape makes Dark Curved Shapes all about us – Shapes that

Part to Reveal the Stars, then the Ocean – then Clusters of Fleeing Light[14]

How does the Light Learn to Grow Dark? Must it Practice Growing Dim?[15]

They Meet with Darkness in the Daytime and Grope at Noonday as in the Night[16]

Sparks, having Grazed their way into the Night – Surrender to it[17]

The Blaze and the Glory of Light is put out in Confusion[18]

The Light, what of the Light? – Splintered, Died[19]

Rage against the Dying of the Light[20]


Mind and Tongue Blacken things[21]

Empty Shaddowes do Afflict my Brayne[22]

The Fiends of Darkness are ever Ready to Lead A-

Stray those who know too much of their Secret Arts[23]

I Program them to Fear Death and what lies on the Dark Side[24]

“Is the Dark Side Stronger?” “No, no – Quicker, Easier, more Seductive”[25]

We cannot Read the Darkness: it is a Form of Madness[26]

Against that Darkness – one is Bereft of Rights[27]

Our Fatal Shadows Walk by us Still[28]

Shadows of the Conquering Dead[29]

Let no Shadow Scorch Her![30]


Genuine Night Admits No Ray[31]

Night Descends on its own Shadow[32]

From Dark Path to Dark Path we Wander in Darkness[33]

Day Looks their Shames upon, they Willfully themselves Exile

From Light – and must for aye Consort with Black-Browed Night[34]

When the Brief Light is Spent there is an Unending Night to be Slept[35]

I Open a Second Window and a Third – but all that comes in from Outside is More Darkness[36]

It cannot be Seen it cannot be Felt, cannot be Heard, cannot be Smelt – it lies behind Stars and Un-

Der Hills, and Empties Holes it Fills – it comes First and follows After – Ends Life, Kills Laughter[37]

The Intense and Utter Raylessness of the Night Endureth for Evermore[38]

It is Mirk, Mirk Night – there is Nae Starlight[39]

A Promise of Shadows Relentless[40]


Waiting for Darkness and a Place to Shine[41]

The traveller in the Dark thanks you for your Tiny Spark[42]

Forthwith Light Ethereal – First of Things – Quintessence Pure[43]

A Beam in Darkness: let it Grow – Help thy Vain Worlds to bear thy Light[44]

I take back a portion of Life from the Dark Powers and offer it up to the powers of Light[45]

You’re out of the Dark, you’re out of the Night – Step into the Sun, Step into the Light[46]

In the Depths of the world’s Darkness is a point of Light which has been provid-

Ed for him Alone and will draw near someday to Irradiate Him and no other[47]

In the Beginning there is just Darkness – then the shadows Yield to Light[48]

A thousand Torches flaming bright doe Burne, that to us Wretch-

Ed earthly Clods in Dreadful Darknesse lend Desirèd Light[49]

A Match Lit in an Endless Cave[50]


I am Born Chasing Light[51]

Light first Strikes the New Awaken’d Sense[52]

Give People Light – and they will Find a Way[53]

Every Day you Play with the Light of the Universe[54]

Let me not Shame their Sublime Deportments Drilled

Bright – beckoning Etruscan Invitation – toward Light[55]

Perceiving above the Darkness of Ignorance the Higher Light in the Sun,

As the higher light within the Heart, the bright Source of Light and Life

Among the Gods, we have reached the Highest Light, Yea, the Highest Light[56]

It’s a Question of Seeing so much Clearer – of doing things what Light does to them[57]

Praise Song for Walking Forward in that Light[58]

Pause in the Light to remember God[59]

Let in a Choir of Light[60]


Dated from the Age of Diffused Luminosity[61]

Everything the Light Touches is our Kingdom[62]

Dumb Force Drenches everything in a Primal Light[63]

To the Light that Shines without Shadow – I Give myself[64]

Light Wraps me and all things in Delicate Equable Showers[65]

The Light shines Uniformly on all the sides of every object … it produces No Shadows[66]

That Every part to Every part may Shine – Distributing the Light in Equal measure[67]

Gold Light in Blind Love does not Distinguish one Surface from another[68]

We shall Meet in the Place where there is No Darkness[69]

Everything Exposed to the Light becomes Visible –

And Everything that is Illuminated becomes a Light[70]


A Privacy of Glorious Light is Thine[71]

I go on in the Dark – Lit from Within[72]

Floods of Light and Glory Pour through my Soul, and

Oh, how I am Changed – and Everything becomes New[73]

These Radiances arise out of the Natural Expressive power of your own Awareness[74]

There is always Light if only we’re Brave enough to See it, if only we’re Brave enough to Be it[75]

Peel Back the Folds over your Heart and Shine into

It the Strongest Light that Streams from your Eyes[76]

This Tendered Theme of you that Light Retrieves[77]

Whose Native Ray can Tame the Wanton Day[78]

Hire lure Lumes Liht, ase a Launterne a-Nyht[79]

Light Rays Dissolve Inseparably into You[80]


Hello Darkness my Old Friend[81]

How is it, Shadows! That I Know ye Not?[82]

These Black Shadows rush forth in Human Shape[83]

Give it enough Shadow – give it as much as you Know to be

Parceled out between your Midnight and Midday and Midnight[84]

She is the color of Night – a Sharply outlined Absence in the Shadows[85]

Your Shadow Invents you every time Light Fails to Pass through[86]

Lie Bathed in Shadow, Eclipsed at Midnight – Cleansed Pure[87]

Our Darkness Breathes more Deeply in the Dark[88]

Do you see Darkness Behind your Eyes?[89]

I am Black – as if Bereaved of Light[90]


One Shade the More – One Ray the Less[91]

Night the Shadow of Light – and Light the shadow of Death[92]

Nothingness, Brilliance, Nothingness – an entire Generation of Light[93]

He draws a Curtain of darkness down before himself in order to allow

Light to appear – Darkness serving as the necessary Foil for Illumination[94]

You may be Witched by his Sunlight – Transported by the Bright Gildings in

The Skies he builds over you, but there is the Blackness of Darkness beyond – and

Even his Bright Gildings but Fringe, and Play upon the Edges of Thunder-Clouds[95]

To go in the Dark with a Light is to know the Light – to know the Dark, go Dark[96]

There is only One Light – they Cherish it with the Darkness it Belongs to[97]

Light no Lamp when Dark comes down – Raise no Shade for Sun[98]

Light Bends in Homage to the Weight of Darkness[99]

Light Re-Join Shadow – and Live Again[100]

[1] Sylvia Plath, Two Sisters of Persephone

[2] Henry Vaughan, They Are All Gone

[3] Greg Pak, quoted in Thanks, Poetry!

[4] Angela Morgan, Today

[5] Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t Wait

[6] C.P. Cavafy tr. Rae Dalven, The Windows

[7] Nikolai Sukhanov on Lenin, quoted by Tariq Ali in The Dilemmas of Lenin

[8] Henry James, The Tree of Knowledge

[9] Katharine Coles, Camera Obscura

[10] James Baldwin, Untitled

[11] Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker

[12] Edward Hopper

[13] Richard Lovelace, To Amarantha, that She Would Dishevel Her Hair

[14] Mary Gaitskill, Today I’m Yours

[15] Circe Maia tr. Jesse Lee Kercheval, The End

[16] Job 15:4

[17] Virginia Woolf,Mrs. Dalloway

[18] The Epic of Gilgamesh tr. N.K. Sandars

[19] Jamaica Kincaid, At Last

[20] Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night

[21] Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

[22] Edmund Spencer, Prothalamion

[23] Roger Lancelyn Green, King Arthur

[24] Don Hertzfeldt, World of Tomorrow

[25] Brackett, Leigh, & Lawrence Kasdan, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

[26] Maggie Nelson, Bluets 130

[27] Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

[28] Samuel Daniel, Man His Own Star

[29] Robert Bly, Hurrying Away from the Earth

[30] Ingeborg Bachmann tr. Mark Anderson, Early Noon

[31] John Dryden, Mac-Flecknoe

[32] Ghassan Zaqtan tr. Fady Joudah, Enemies

[33] Hakuin Ekaku, Chant in Praise of Zazen

[34] William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

[35] Primo Levi tr. Ruth Feldman & Brian Swann, Sunset at Fossoli

[36] Tayeb Salih tr. Denys Johnson-Davies, Seasons of Migration to the North

[37] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

[38] Edgar Allan Poe, The Premature Burial

[39] Unknown, Thomas the Rhymer

[40] Bell Hooks, Appalachian Elegy 24

[41] C.D. Wright, Looking Outside the Cabin

[42] Nursery Rhyme, Twinkle, Twinkle

[43] John Milton, Paradise Lost

[44] Lord Tennyson,In Memorium

[45] Hermann Hesse tr. Damion Searls, Demian

[46] Yip Harburg, Optimistic Voices

[47] Yukio Mishima tr. John Nathan, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

[48] Susan Griffin, A Gangster Movie

[49] Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion

[50] Ada Limón, A New National Anthem

[51] Pamilerin Jacob, Erectile Disfunction as a Variant of Skototropism

[52] William Cartwright, To Chloe

[53] Ella Baker

[54] Pablo Neruda, Every Day You Play

[55] Emily Dickinson, Unto Like Story – Trouble Has Enticed Me

[56] Chandogya-Upanishad 3.17.7

[57] Ursula K. Le Guin, To See

[58] Elizabeth Alexander, Praise Song for the Day

[59] Conrad Aiken, Morning Song of Senlin

[60] Susan Griffin, Torture

[61] Italo Calvino tr. William Weaver, At Daybreak

[62] Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts & Linda Woolverton, The Lion King

[63] Durs Grünbein tr. Karen Leeder, The Doctrine of Photography

[64] Charles Wright,Homage to Mark Rothko

[65] Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

[66] Jules Verne tr. Robert Baldick, Journey to the Center of the Earth

[67] Dante Alighieri tr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Inferno

[68] Denise Levertov, Six Variations

[69] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

[70] Ephesians 5:13

[71] William Wordsworth, To a Skylark

[72] Miguel Hernandez tr. Timothy Baland, I Go On in the Dark, Lit from Within

[73] William James, quoted by Alan Watts in This Is It

[74] Padmasambhava tr. Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of the Dead

[75] Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb

[76] Laura Hershey, How to Write a Poem

[77] Hart Crane, Voyages

[78] Richard Crashaw, Wishes to His Supposed Mistress

[79] Anonymous c.14th, Blow, Northern Wind

[80] Padmasambhava tr. Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of the Dead

[81] Simon and Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence

[82] John Keats, Ode on Indolence

[83] Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Maypole of Merry Mount

[84] Paul Celan tr. John Felstiner, Speak, You Too

[85] Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

[86] Michael Wasson, Your Shadow Invents You Every Time Light Fails to Pass Through

[87] Laura Hershey, Orion on the Porch

[88] Bruce Bond, Lamella

[89] Alan Watts, Harmonious Dissolution

[90] William Blake, The Little Black Boy

[91] Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty

[92] Algernon Charles Swinburne, Before the Beginning of Years

[93] Terry Ben, A Bright Future

[94] Carolyn Forché, Introduction to Against Forgetting

[95] Herman Melville, Review of Mosses from an Old Manse

[96] Wendell Berry, To Know the Dark

[97] W.S. Merwin, In A Clearing

[98] Anne Spencer, Letter to My Sister

[99] Daniel M. Becker, Reading Middlebrow Cosmology

[100] Hayao Miyazaki, The Castle of Cagliostro

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