In Search of a Title

In Search of a Title 

Though you spend years buried, knowing who you are, but unable to be, still there are leaks along the way, both good and bad, glimpses from above, colors so bright, impossible to ignore, even from below. 

Then something happens, not through the strength you know you have, but will not budge, but something outside yourself, from above, forces beyond your reach, forces that nudge you to be the person you know you are. 

And though the roots have always been strong, it’s branches gnarled, they shed and new ones, unlike any before, spread above and beyond, uncertain of how far, and though this sensation is new, you know it well, for this is who you are. 

And so you begin, lighter than ever before, though heaviness and darkness still prevail, but now are bathed under the fierce light of the sun. And so, you tread carefully, but with confidence, on a thread you were meant to walk, and though balanced, shakes ever so slightly, as its rhythm grows. 

And though you now are the person you’ve always been, you know that was merely a theory before, and stood as shadows do – not far from you, but far enough. But now, you and your shadow are one, your companion, while you walk upon this trail, and learn, things you could never before. 

But this is no easy task. 

Though filled with light, the sun behind you, darkness is still ahead, for light never stands alone, but is the consort of darkness, and this is how you balance the scales. And though the branches are no longer gnarled, and the engines roar, the road ahead is, as always, unknown. 

And so, you follow paths, which must be followed, however dark they may appear, until you reach a room filled with light, and the sun bathes your face, fully knowing who you are, until you don’t, for you never know when the end is near. 

 

Betty Barkas Hood

The Crickets

It’s early morning

Still dark and quiet 

And Baltimore is sleeping

Even the birds. 

 

But the song of the crickets

Amongst this silence

Is constant

And this is the music

Of early morning. 

 

A constant drip

Of water nearby

Punctuates

The only song you hear.

 

But not long after that

The sirens begin to hum

And this song will continue

Long after the song of the crickets

Is buried.  

Swimming

There is a place you must go, and though you cannot see where it is, you know it is, know the distance you must travel is vast and unknown, and there is no sun to serve you as a guide, nor any guarantee that you will make it there, and instead be condemned to dwell in the darkness of infinity, and while there, you ask yourself: “How much more must one endure? How long can one endure?” 

But these questions do not suffice, for you know the answer is obscured by the shadows of uncertainty, and so you grasp what you can, to guide you through the night, and hope you will return to see the sun again.

And so you turn to the memory of the notes that still exist within you, for darkness has no power over them, for these notes reside far above the clouds, above the sky, above the heavens, where the shadows of light are bred and born and transformed, from the greater darkness within the universe, which we will never reach or fully know, but still know it well, for those notes, though born in darkness, are overcome by the power of light that breaks apart from the darkness from which they were issued, and sheds.

And with this light, you know darkness will never win the war, for light is far greater than the birth of night, and so you arm yourself with those notes as your guide – The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, which stirs in you the will to live and swim towards the light.   

 

The Floor Above

I could not say what floor it was —
because I did not know
what floor I lived on —
only that it was the floor above
where silence seemed to dwell —
unless it was because I could not hear
what was there
because of the noise of others
who lived with me.

It did not have a pretty or a friendly face —
instead the faces where I lived
were filled with images of things
I feared —
and a television against a wall —
the chatter of petty minds and petty faces 
the constant hum and drum behind the wall —
which I ignored —
for it was nothing more than noise to me.

But it had a telephone —
which reached another world —
the world of those I loved —
those no longer here
but whose messages I could hear.
They were both beautiful and tragic
and reminded me of the life they lived.
Love erased in a single moment
haunted eternally by the voice of those they loved —
recorded on a telephone.

They pretended to be happy
their voices filled with enthusiasm 
hopeful the ancient ones they had loved 
would reappear
found and loved again 
but not without a hint of uncertainty —
that kind of hope. 
Nonetheless it was persuasive 
and so, I plastered them to my body —
like a shield —
and traversed
the landscape of what I feared.

The Second Floor

Not too high, not too low.
Close enough to the ground 
but not far above it.
Not as high as the sky
but high enough to see the sky —
The middle ground.
High enough to see the branches of a tree —
the people who grow beneath them —
the voices and the traffic on the street
breathing  
under the sun and under the moon —
touch the sky.

The Man in Green

In a land by the sea between the living and the dead —
I saw a familiar man —

but could not be sure who he was 
The sun traveled inside and poured from his face 
as he approached with a friendly gait —
a handsome man —
but whose beauty was secondary to the jacket he wore —  
a shade of green, not too dark, not too bright —
the length shorter than is customary for a man
reached the edge of the spine.
I marvelled how different it was from anything I had seen —
and knew its touch was something I could not leave behind —
The man in green — who was otherwise modestly dressed —
took pride in the craftsmanship of this vessel of his —
and opened the door to an inner world —
where major keys lay bare inside  —
and saw it was not finished yet.