In Dark Ages

Ah, my writing routine is back to its Planet Normal. Wake up in the half-light, half-dark. Gradually come to. Rise for tea, some non-verbal chat with cats as I wield tin and spoon. Then return to notebook and pen and the blank page to see what will turn up for the Poetry Daily. There is only one more week to go when I reach the 365 Poem A Day mark. I have written a poem a day since 15th September 2018. I have posted it on this blog everyday bar one, when my internet service was down. I posted two the following day. I posted as a way to keep a check on myself. If I didn’t post I might have become a slacker to the poetry practice.

What first emerged in my morning’s cogitation was a spin on a prayer from my childhood. Actually, it was only a line from a half-remembered prayer and then I began to riff on that. Which I will not share. But it took me into deeper waters of consciousness. Deep time keeps cropping up and also what was termed in my infant school history books as The Dark Ages.

In Dark Ages

What made the Dark Ages go dark?
Was it barbarian hordes sacking Rome,
making it burn,
along with Alexandria's library
turning all knowledge to ash?
Was it the temple's collapse?

What makes a world a civilisation?
When is its bright firmament a vacuum?
What makes its light go dark?
When exactly does it jump the shark?

Was it greed and hubris that made it dark?
or the rape and pillage leaving indelible mark?
Pity and terror is the classical definition
for the appropriate response
to tragedies' transitions.

But those Greeks lost their world.
It crumbled to ruins., too.
Yet in all that age and its gravest days
there must have been someone
who kept alive some vital spark.

Much was lost. But much was retained.
Probably by a black-clad granny
keeping the family tinderbox safe.
She knew what to do, how to take
flint and some sticks and chafe them
into fire to make food,
to be able to see each others face.
The light returns, if not the great.
Empires burn. To some that's a disgrace.

I ask more questions....
what do you love?
what do you vouchsafe?
what gentles you in chaos and
rescues you from the inevitable pathos?

What tools have you been left
to strike the light
to allow you to discern
what is a dark age
and what is your immediate concern?

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

Featured image: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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