“That brightness—half-/particle, half-ineffable—might save us all” ~from “A Wish Geometry” by contributor John Belk.
In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to look toward the light, to find the brightness in these scary times when the world feels isolated and bleak. Though we are more afraid of our light than we are of our darkness as author, activist, and spiritual counselor, Marianne Williamson says, poetry, throughout civilization, has helped herald the light we need. This spring quarterly edition of P2g features ten poets who write of light in all its glory, and contrasts. Ben Terry, a prison inmate serving a life sentence without parole gives us insight into a life void of hope, yet shows that despite his circumstances, it is mankind’s nature to seek light. He explains of his poem “Bright Future” that “three years into serving the sentence of life without parole, I had a King Solomon moment one morning where the shortness of life and wasted opportunity overwhelmed me as I stared out the window. Yet in short order I was forced to laugh, because apparently half of me seemed obliviously optimistic.”
Bright Future by Ben Terry
This morning I saw the sun
Give rise to a string of stars,
Laid like a garland atop the barbwire
Outside my window
With one eye drowning in my flattened pillow,
I watched and counted.
Nine minutes from conception to death.
Nothingness, brilliance, nothingness.
An entire generation of light
Passed like morning wood.
Only a poet could highlight The Neon Museum as a boneyard where lights go to die. In “My Las Vegas” Alexis Ivy bears wisdom when her observation meets imagination. It’s where the real and ideal touch. It’s the nothingness after the brilliance as Ben Terry observes.
Peter Meinke, Florida’s poet laureate, recognizes light’s loving power when he writes of the combs of his lover’s hair blazing on the desk, reflective as the shells of Bermuda as he reminisces: There are moments in every day/when a hunger seizes and the hands tremble. Helen Pruitt Wallace, reinforces the will of survival, as she describes the grinding of an old oak stump, …muscling toward cracks/ of light while Constance Merritt pairs light loved in one of her two-word only lines shaping her poem “Winter.”
Images of lemons lit in the kitchen bowl of Rage Hezekiah’s “Layers” portray the softness and love of a mother who once made such gentle things. Again, it is within human nature to seek the bright spots, despite dark sadness. This contrast stands out in Kay Bell’s “Sisters” portrayal of Two girls,/ light/dark, seasoned with dilemmas,/looking for love and pain… And if we forget of love, Keith Althaus reminds us; let there be just enough/to make you think,/standing on the curb,/waiting for the light/of me, and us.
In the still chilly days of early spring, my favorite chair in the house is in the living room, next to my husband, near the fireplace. The fire draws me close because of its light and warmth. I feel safe and protected. And when I’m swimming in the still chilly waters of the warming spring ocean, again next to my husband, I search for the sun peeking through the clouds to urge me on. Michael T. Young understands the power of both in “The Risk of Listening to Brahms.”
I like action movies for the same reason
I like Brahms, or undiluted scotch,
the constant flux of the sea,
or the sun’s light and heat stripped down,
to raw fire, to the burning sine qua non,…
Love and light are stronger than fear. That’s what I teach my children. It’s what poetry teaches us.. Many thanks to this season’s contributors, and to our readers.
May we live in sunshine!