June 21, 2019
Photo by Rowan Wielblad
To Conquer Darkness
A Poem by Hilde Oleson
When you are small
Night holds such fears
Hidden in the dark are things you couldn’t dream
In every shadow hides a roaring terror.
The jungle of the world hides them in day,
But when night creeps in, so do they.
The distance from the carpet to your bed
Is measured by the crocodiles you must avoid,
The closet door must be secured against the tigers waiting there.
But by old age you have learned better.
Years of vacuuming under the bed has tamed all dust bunnies,
And only laughter greets the rest.
But if you are old and become sick the dark again becomes a little frightening.
In day, nurses and friends stop in.
Friends bring you flowers that glow in the sun in pastel vases.
But as dark creeps in, shadows slip across the floor.
The last nurse says “Sleep well” and shuts the door.
That is the time you must make friends with darkness.
You must stretch out your arms as to a lover
And gather the darkness in.
Let it surround you, feel the warmth.
Remember how it felt to wrap a gauzy scarf around bare shoulders,
How dark colors made you look slimmer, more seductive?
Night is the warmest comfort when you hold it close,
And listen for the comforting hum of love remembered.
For memories are hidden in the dark, just waiting to be pulled out
And cherished in the tenderest heart.
So in the night they warm your soul and let the night caress you.