In This Dark Time

On this the first day of June, my mother would always recite “What is so rare as a day in June. . .” Even after I came to Michigan, the phone would ring, I would answer and hear her recitation.

This week’s poem will be printed on a calendar created by Saginaw Valley State University in honor of poet Theodore Roethke who grew up in Saginaw. Roethke’s poem “In a Dark Time” led to this poem. Other than that, what can I say? It’s there in the title.

 In This Dark Time

Who will still dance within June’s bursting
open the doors to sing to Summer, “Come in!”?
The same sun has flung its one light across

the broken glass of stubble in the fields.
The seeds will soon enough be sewn.
If you live with an old dog, it sleeps

more hours than you even wish you could,
its soft breathing taking in and letting go
the air we never knew could fill with

what can take away the living mystery
of everything. The dog’s place is peace,
alone in the sovereignty of here. We

will dance, we who take the wheel
and the rake, who walk back to
the desk and home. The sky, steady

in its illusion, covers what the mind
can only stammer into song. This
we know: the old fiddler will still

play. The fertility of the fern will
again unroll itself always toward
the light. The loggerhead will

lie mute along the deep’s dark
ridge. The soil’s improbable hold
on what comes green will offer us

another chance to, if we dare, see.
Not merely look. See! And see again
that light will not forsake the tree.

–Jack Ridl


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12 thoughts on “In This Dark Time

  1. . . . that light will not forsake the trees . . . What a beautiful line! Thank you for this hopeful poem in a dark time, dear Jack.

    • Thank you for telling me this. Thank you so very much.
      The Roethke line is “light takes the tree,” thus the affirmation.

    • That one nearly took my head off. Now to correct “sewn” Oh my.
      Merci back to ya and get alllllllll better, will ya!

  2. Yes, Jack, with Susan I have copied out that marvelous phrase: “that light will not forsake the tree” and will repeat it all day. Maybe all month.
    Did you intend “sewn” in line 6, or “sown”? (With poets one can never be sure!) If the latter, I don’t want the calendar printers to print the homophone.

    • I am so glad about that line landing in the light of your heart.
      AND–Gooooood heaven’s, as much as I like the pun, it should be sown. Oh my.
      I blame my proof reader! : ) Thank you!!!! Have to fix that before the
      poem shows up on that calendar! Yikes!

  3. …………..peace,alone in the sovereignty of here. Here is a meditation on being and presence. Thank you Jack

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