Saturday, September 02, 2006

When A Dark Night of the Soul Befalls Us
By Don Iannone

Some nights,
the forgotten cemeteries we live near
come back to life,
filling us with ghostly tombstones
floating on thick dark clouds.
Not every night they come,
but certainly on long dark nights, following days
when the world seems more dead than alive.
Morning can't come quickly enough on those nights
when the cries of those in-between
haunt the bottomless valleys we live in.
And when the cries subside,
the stone silence echoes deep
inside the empty cavern filling us.
Until it's finally over,
there is no hope that it will ever end.
And once it has ended,
we can only wait again
for the grass to turn black with night,
and for the air to chill suddenly cold as ice.
It is only then we come to know
the true meaning of light.

18 comments:

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

"it's only then we come to know the true meaning of light"
How true...

starry nights said...

Morning can't come quickly enough on those nights
when the cries of those in-between
haunt the bottomless valleys we live in.
And when the cries subside,
the stone silence echoes
deep inside the empty cavern inside us.
Until it's finally over,

Don those lines could not have been expressed better.. have a good weekend.

ufukhati said...

don,

What a fluent poem...I read it and I read it and I read it again.

Don Iannone said...

Thanks Andrew, Starry Nights, and Ufukhati. This one is a departure from most poems I write.

The term and metaphysicality of the phrase "dark night of the soul" are taken from the writings of the Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, a Carmelite priest in the 16th century.

Dark Night of the Soul is the name of both a poem, and a commentary on that poem, and are among the Carmelite priest's most famous writings. They tell of his mystic development and the stages he went through on his quest for holiness.

The "dark night" could generally be described as a letting go of our ego's hold on the psyche, making room for change that can bring about a complete transformation of a person's way of defining his/her self and their relationship to God. The interim period can be frightening, hence the perceived "darkness".

And so, you have my own take on "dark night of the soul."

polona said...

aw, don, this is wonderfully expressed!

Don Iannone said...

Polona...thank you. Those dark nights, eh? They make us apopreciate the dawn. Blessings.

invisible128 said...

Nice poem ^_^ liked your way in expressing .. made me think that if there was no dark side , then we won't know the bright side .. makes life balanced .. We don't appreciate life only when it's too late .. I'm glad that you wrote it . Made me appreciate everything from now on ..

Don Iannone said...

Invisible128..thanks. Yes, this is exactly what I had in mind in the poem. The important thing for all of us is to remember the drak nights give birth to the light of dawn.

serenity said...

In your comment above, Don...

"The 'dark night' could generally be described as a letting go of our ego's hold on the psyche, making room for change that can bring about a complete transformation of a person's way of defining his/her self and their relationship to God. The interim period can be frightening, hence the perceived 'darkness'."

Stunning poem, even more depth to your insight. Magical, mystical, wonderful.....as always!

_Soulless_ said...

when the cries of those in-between
haunt the bottomless valleys we live in


The poem reminds me of the common ground between those the pronouns "they" and "we" in this piece respectively refer to. That "in-between," that void, that soundless yet perceptible scream for another place, when what matters more than where we are is how much light we let in. ^_^

My first time here. I enjoy the blessed time spent dwelling on your poetry -- it certainly uplifts my spirit, setting a heavy soul on wings. Thank you.

Rob said...

I expect you are right but I prefer to not have too many of them!

Kathleen said...

Powerful Don...!

Don Iannone said...

Thank you Kathleen, Rob, Serenity, Soulless.

Serenity...the dark and the light and all in-between. I suppose one could measure the quality of one's life by the amount of light in their life.

Soulless...welcome and thank you. Yes, there is a common ground in many senses of the phrase, including the literal, symbolic, and archetypal. As "process" creatures, it is our nature to be in-between and also impermanent. The line between life and death and light and dark are fine ones at best--very fine ones. I will check out your blog.

Imemine said...

don,
I know what you mean. It's one of those nights when you can't sleep because you are afraid of tomorrow.
But sometimes one can't sleep because of a great idea. In the morning it turns out to be just a good idea and nothing else.

Don Iannone said...

Imemine...thanks. Yes, that's it at times, and other times it's "night" in another sense that haunts us even in the daylight.

Imemine said...

don,
Yes, I know what you mean. I only have one solution to that: endurance. At daytime you have to go on with your responsibilities. At night you can recover and practice for the daylight. No one expect you to function 24 hours a day.

Mike said...

Hi Don,

Nice work here. I enjoyed the descriptive verse, especially, "the stone silence echoes deep inside the empty cavern filling us."

One interesting point; you noted "Not every night they come, ... following days when the world seems more dead than alive." I think this agrees with most peoples' experiences, but interestingly, my darkest nights tend to come after the absolutely best days I've ever had. Those days show me two things. First, my attachment to the "amazingness" of the day is pushing through to the surface. But more importantly, those days tend to show me what I am NOT doing on a more frequent basis. Why aren't more days like that? They can't all be, of course, but when I do have them, they truly highlight my ruts, where I've been acting out of habitforce and, even if my "normal" days are joyful and happy and optimistic, more so than most everyone I know, they often pale in comparison to these special days.

So I think these alternate "dark nights of the soul" are a product of learning, of seeing how much time I've wasted falling into whatever rut I happen to have fallen into, how much joy I've lost. But out of these nights I always emerge better, making changes.

Thanks for the thought-provocation! :)

Mike

dumbdodi said...

Don, sorry for being late. I am keeping very busy and my mind busier.
Anyways enjoyed reading the poem.We realise true meaning of anything when we lose it or fear losing it.

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