"Dark Within Dark Within Dark"
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The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony
Romantic Sheepskin ~♥~ Wallet
"Keep the Faith" might not be an obvious love poem, but I think it's a good one for today, with its theme of darkness and depression to match our collective SADness, winter blues, and sunlight deprivation. And, sweetly, after all the darkness, there's a happy ending that revolves around the image of a folded heart -- a Valentine!
I've had an fading, mimeographed copy of this poem by Jack Butler in one of my old notebooks since college days, though in all honesty I cannot recall how or where I first came across it, back in 1983 or so. Was it a class assignment? Did Butler visit campus and give a reading that I attended? Despite my hazy memory of how the poem made its way into my collection of favorites, I could never forget the narrator's despairing descent into that "darkness somewhere in which you do not love me":
Keep the Faith
I think perhaps there is some darkness somewhere
in which you do not love me. Falling to sleep,
I cross that simple zone in which I keep
my solitary vigil. I am there.
And the blue truth of my being is also there,
that I am worth nothing, a heatless flame.
I am that territory and its name.
It is no place for strangers: Beware, Beware
floats over its dark coast in letters of blue fire
that are not reflected in the dark water lapping rock.
Falling to sleep, I think there is some darkness somewhere
In which you do not love me, dark within dark within dark.
I think, Maybe my wallet, folded like a heart
in the dark of my locked briefcase, in the dark of our bedroom.
And then tomorrow, standing in the stink and fume
at the daylit gas-pump, all of us hurrying to work,
my blunt fingers will be astounded to discover
only green bills, that I love and have a lover.
by Jack Butler
American poet (b 1944)