The light that filters through the leaves at dusk
Is brighter than before.
Yet, at my back,
The shadows still creep along the
Shorelines of my heart.
Child, look up and out
As if reclined
On a blue hammock
Suspended between two tall oaks
And focus on the sky.
Look not at what sprawls behind,
Mangled and torn.
You are not an effigy of the trauma you have born
But an elegy for the storm.
See how the darkest waters part along the fault lines
Of your heart.
Your goodness floods the spaces in-between the wraith-like faces
You have worn and you are now born,
Illuminated and strong,
Steady as an oak against the northern winds.
Your ghosts will not haunt
Inspired by a Scottish ghost story my father used to tell me. In it, there is a stranded sailor, washed up on a distant shore. He feels safe and warm in the light of the northern sun, until at dusk, he spots a darkened form; a wraith of some sort, flitting and skittering towards him in the waning light. As it approaches, he knows it is his death.
I think we encounter these darkened forms in our lives, shadowing us, born from the trauma we have endured. I have seen those that turn to the light and outshine what haunts them, and I have felt the pull and the strength of the light and the continued presence of the darkness somewhere far behind.