Darkness Does Great Work

What angel is this who has chosen me,
She, who tangled her truth in my dark roots
Then swam down in dirt where worms wait
To devour me… and yet, I fear nothing.


Let boasts not supplant Truth in my heart,
Reader! Know this face, once made up, hides
The fractures that allow light to escape
For darkness to continue its work — after-all —

Darkness does great work.

At night, when cold buds close to gather
Strength for the bright day, shadows
Persist like envy to strike down the angel
Before beauty becomes terror I cannot bear.

I need this.

The angels, the roots, the darkness, the terror
I need all of this to wrap me like a grave
Awakening inside my heart a pulse that does
Still long to beat even knowing what awaits.

This poem is a revision of a first draft posted last Month at FullBeardLit.org. This poem began like much of my recent work as a response/reflection upon reading Rilke’s Book of Hours. Over the course of this week I will be drafting a post that discusses the changes I made through the crafting process. I would like to give a shout out to our Barista, Donna, whose comment affirming the power of the line “darkness does great work” was critical in choosing the title. This speaks to the direction I look to take Go Dog Go Cafe in the upcoming months, to evolve an aspect of Workshop into the Cafe. More to follow.

For now, scroll around a while and discover other great writing from our Baristas. Come back Monday to promote yourself and again on Tuesday to catch a prompt from Devereaux and Beth!

S Francis began writing poetry as a teenager in New Hampshire and kept at it throughout a 27 year career in the Navy. During that time he found homes for poems in Scholastic, Powhatan Review, Skipping Stones, Portfolio, and the Virginia Pilot as well as having a collaborative poem shared in Christine Ray’s brilliant Myths of Girlhood. For a year he actively blogged as Sailor Poet and co-founded the Go Dog Go Cafe. Following his retirement from active duty, he has begin pursuing a writing career in earnest, has resumed blogging at fullbeardlit.org and is now the managing editor at the Go Dog Go Cafe.

(C) 2020 S Francis Fuller

5 thoughts on “Darkness Does Great Work

  1. Darkness does great work because there is the brightness of light to look forward to. To understand why opposites attract has a purpose and offers the paradox of enrichment meaning without one you don’t appreciate the other.
    “The angels, the roots, the darkness, the terror
    I need all of this to wrap me like a grave
    Awakening inside my heart a pulse that does
    Still long to beat even knowing what awaits.”

    This is a wonderful and artistically crafted piece, S Francis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Eugenia! We spoke a few weeks ago about crafting and spilling of words. I truly love both, for very different reasons. Spilling passes ideas from my subconscious to my conscious mind that I may not have known needed expression and feels cathartic in a way. The crafting feels like the therapy afterwards when I really roll up my sleeves to understand what thing my subconscious is trying to teach my conscious. Very different.

      In the case of this poem, when I got around to crafting it became clear that the poem was about death more than about say, sin. Darkness being a good metaphor for both, but in reality, death teaches us best how to live no?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wonderful poem, and I agree. We poets can obsess over what our “muse” sees or hears, meanwhile around us more life is happening that gets lost to the contemplation our preoccupations demand!

        It was when I began to ask myself “why did I write this? What am I trying to say?” That poetry took on a whole new life for me. It was always important, there were things I didn’t know how to say and still don’t without it; but when I asked those questions it was like I was giving something inside me that wanted to be heard the attention it deserved. So poetry became something entirely different.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so thought provoking and yes, it does tie in to my poem. As we grow older and with hope, wiser, I believe we contemplate death and living with more depth than we did when young. With my recent health scare, I find myself dwelling on death, and what comes next, if anything. Thank you Stephen!

    Liked by 2 people

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