Goethe’s final words: “More light.” Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry, “More light.” Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlight. Neon, incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s field. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on, the night is dark and I am far from home, lead thou me on. Arise, shine, for thy light has come. Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light.
|“Champaign and cinnamon candle”. Photo courtesy of E & S|
May all our friends and family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.
WHAT DID YOU WRITE ME?
–by Reid Mitchell
I hired an official taster
to read my email.
He hung himself today.
|Picture courtesy of JP.|
WRITTEN IN SNOW
We extinguished two glasses of port,
drained the lamp,
transfigured from dressed to undressed.
Both times were revelatory.
The way you spoke then did not speak:
everything was newly sparse–
more new than sparse.
I do not remember it all, now,
what we said afterwards:
The virtues of simplified over traditional,
But we kept the blinds two-thirds drawn
and from your warm bed
we caught slivers of tree branches
in soft toques.
The snow had stopped and the road was icy
when we left. What took place already seemed hazy;
even your steadying arm around my shoulder
Friendly people, we commented
on irrelevant things: the barber shop over there,
the dog park. Then I saw phrases fingered on cars,
unconvincingly hidden in snow. The calligrapher,
in haste, had chosen simplified.
It doesn’t matter, I guess.
New snow may fall, cover the slate.
And given time, all words melt.
“This one was taken in Senegal, from inside a taxi, on the road from N’gueniene to Dakar. The colourful, hand-painted vehicle you can see outside looks just like most public transport vehicles there. April 2009.”