I soaked up a soggy sense of betrayal
each time I failed to find a toenail gap
between cruel cuts of shrapnel and scorched waste –
a haven where red-eyed ash and steely scraps
did not mingle or seek to compete,
where nature remained unscathed.
Whispering, I would inquire:
who am I, and why?
Feel like a downy feather,
fallen from an eagle’s wing, floating
in a pool of happenstance dirt.
Feel like the cracked shell
of an oyster that shaped a pearl from
a grain of sand.
Feel like a blade of grass
waiting for chance to decide whether
I may remain upright, or be crushed.
Feel like a bee searching
for honey on the surface of a gilt-framed
landscape depicting summer’s haze.
I have been patient amid the chaos
waiting to find the silence that would allow a reply
and today my answer was delivered to me:
I am a dark and light animal,
shaded to reflect this chiaroscuro planet.
We all contain darkness and light.
These qualities make the patterns which illuminate colour and scale.
They allow us life and give us sight.
I will still try to give the light a brighter hue
and cast some warmth within the dusk,
even as my limitations become clear to me;
I am so much more than dust, but
so much less than deity.
©Jane Paterson Basil