Light is the Left Hand of Darkness

A whitewashed canvas
is not a picture of light.
Shade describes it. Shadows
depict what they deny,
build what they block
and outline what they obscure,
when darkness is increased by one.

As Shadows Crawl

As shadows crawl from out of drains in spring
and horny-handed tons of soil betray
dark earthy secrets and unearthly stink,
so stirs the spirit and so lives the day.

The fresh green spirit of the spawning leaves
two notionary voices bears, and in
the same breath one fulfils and one deceives.
We speak politely, or speak not of them,

or of the fear of devil's coach and horse
upon the tide now rising from below;
extrusions of a sublimated thought
anticipating darkness in the flow.

From under old, uprooted, fallen trees,
the pungent shadow of the earth set free.


The Shadows

Played ‘Stars Fell on Stockton’
before the star system had infiltrated
the music business.
After that, there were no stars
anywhere near Stockton,
but they fell.


The shadow of a bridge
crosses this sea of silence
both ways.

Shadow Curriculum

Each year we see the novices arrive,
eager for Accolade and full of scorn
for our Establishment, already torn
between their need for patrons and their pride.

We teach of shadows - darkened by the light,
contrasting with the cold or warmer tones
around them – touched and touching, but alone.
By that which they are not, they are defined.

Over the student body, then, we throw
the shadows of our former selves like nets
to capture animals and so; to set
free from these hallowed halls they need to know
how characters of three dimensions step
from fallen shadows that have only two.

Peter Stewart Richards

If you've any comments on this poem, Peter Stewart Richards would be pleased to hear from you.