Academic journal article Chicago Review

No Exit

Academic journal article Chicago Review

No Exit

Article excerpt

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.

My soul like some heat-maddened summer fly,

Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?

A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.

-Theodore Roethke, "In a Dark Time"

The Dark Night of the Soul, the darkest night.

There is no darker. "Pitched past pitch," he said-

Hopkins, that is. And Saint John of the Cross

knew equal suffering-a loss of faith

that nothing equals, so they say, but I

who lost my life-why can I not compare

my loss with theirs? Life is no little thing-

your own life or the life of a beloved.

The sun goes out, the moon. There is no fire.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.

I wander disembodied in a void.

No body. Nobody. A curious thought.

A soul without its flesh is lost. A ghost.

Its bearings gone. It isn't even hell

it wanders through, but some drear desolate space,

silent, still, where "no birds sing" and I

am dumb, and deaf to any natural sound.

What is this wasted landscape? this un-place?

what is this fleshlessness? A travesty.

My soul like some heat-maddened summer fly

circles the light bulb, circles the room, the world. …

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