The day had been three seconds shorter than the rest
and the darkest apparently for five hundred years.
We had thought to send a sky lantern up to light a path, but didn’t in the end.
Those ribbons of light that we in potential burned; what would be written
in their narrow calligraphy, what futilities would they hope
to sear through by that little, little spark?
The darkest, longest night is glory enough in itself perhaps,
and asks us to hold its depth without a glimmer.
So many things are born of the Night and Darkness.
I harbour their child Old Age inside, anticipate him yet;
Geras, son of those two shadowed gods, sleekit and enfeebled,
depicted sporadically on ochre pots, loomed over by the younger gods,
his scrotum tucked safely between his thighs, impossible to see if such a scrag
becomes more wrinkled with the passing of time.
I have known old men to become desiccated in themselves,
huddled into their own dry husk, or dissipated, loosely spreading
from land to silt to pool and evaporating slowly, or rained into dilution.When the Night and the Dark claimed their rightful hours I did not send a lantern up.