Diffident Light

I've been enjoying a long-ish break from most web things and social media over the holiday period, but as it's New Year's Eve, it seems like a good time to share some words.

The past year has been a pretty awful one in a number of ways - I feel like I'm hearing more hate and vitriol seemingly everywhere I turn, there is an appalling lack everywhere of people using what I still refer to as "listening ears", and hope has been in shockingly short supply in my neck of the woods. Every morning seems to bring reports of new atrocities, or the loss of yet one more public figure, or the normalisation of yet another example of horrible things people say about those that are different. I'm hoping that with this last day of 2016 I can leave some of that behind, and start looking forward to 2017.

Every day on my way to work, I take the train to Waterloo Station and walk through the underpass below the Imax theatre roundabout towards the Southbank. This means that everyday I get the opportunity to read what has become one of my favourite poems - Eurydice by Sue Hubbard. So at the end of a year that is best left behind in our collective rearview mirrors, I share it with you, and hope that it speaks to you in whatever way you need. Happy New Year.

Eurydice by Sue Hubbard (2004)

I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half-remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows,
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.