I originally wrote this poem eight or nine years ago. It was an exercise in using contrasting words, contrasting rhythms, active and passive voices, sensory symbolism, and a few other style toys that I thought would be fun to try (for a hobbyist writing nerd).
As often happens when I write, the theme I had in mind when I started was quickly overtaken by other ideas. The words and symbolism began pointing the way. A new theme slowly emerged.
Then, just as I was gaining momentum, some shiny objects interrupted, and I set this poem aside. A whole bunch of amazing life events started happening and years (eight or nine to be exact) came and went.
This poem sat on the hard drive of what would become my “old” computer. When I moved over to the new computer, somehow all the data didn’t get transferred properly to the new computer (or to any of the cloud storage locations I use today).
I forgot about the poem until a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a fictional story I’d written. After some searching, I realized the only place it could be was on that old computer that we hadn’t turned on in years (and that we kept for some reason). Imagine my surprise when I was able to boot it up and look around on the hard drive for some of my old (nearly lost) work.
I found that fictional story I was looking for (maybe I’ll publish it in some form in the future), along with a bunch of other work I had forgotten…including this poem. Again, shiny objects intervened, and I didn’t get around to re-reading this poem until today. The toys I’d been playing with so many years ago were just lying about where this big kid had left them.
I picked up my writing toys and continued playing with the words, the styles, and the symbols. The theme that was there so many years ago was showing itself but in a new way that I hadn’t quite seen in the past. Again, the words and symbols pointed the way (just like Mr. Cox told us in eleventh grade English class).
I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the comments.
The Dance of Light and Dark
Lengthening shadows descend across the forest floor.
The perpetual dance as day gives way to night.
Glorious palettes of color and light,
Surrendering to shadows in the growing darkness.
The air grows cold with the smell of decay.
Death wins a battle in its forever war on life.
Your heartbeat echoes behind your ears.
A quiet rhythm of life.
You hear the mournful wail of a distant companion, howling for a moon not yet risen.
Stars shine like pinholes through a curtain.
The moon rises in the distance, casting new light in the dark.
While creatures of the night toil in the shadows,
Hunting and evading, hiding and pouncing, dying and surviving.
They don’t know what their future holds.
Pain or comfort.
Life or death.
Trees moan quietly as they sway against the wind’s unending assault.
Each is alone in the crowd to persevere as they must.
These trees know without knowing that morning will come.
A distant dream in the long cold night that’s just beginning.
Morning brings new light.
An eternity of hope.
Wistful breezes carry the freshness of this glorious day.
The sun lends its brilliant glow to all that it touches.
A new day, with promises to make.
Promises to fulfill.
Promises of life, of love, of laughter, and joy.
This dance of light and dark,
Of hope and despair,
Of life and death.
An eternity before,
An eternity after.
This dance is our journey.
This dance is each of us.