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The shadow of darkness
by David Barger
2009-11-06 07:56:48
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No alarm calling out my name.
My eyes were wide opened.
My younger brother lay asleep
Underneath in the bottom portion
Of our double bed;
His breathing pouring out in rhythmic measures
With the slightest pause
Before breath regained its play,
And I turned onto my right side
Facing the only window in our room
In view of the white ash tree
Whose lower branches skimmed
The top window pane
Occasionally touching the glass
When provoked by the wind.
Lying there, gazing out of the window
I began to find my way
To the comfort zone of rest
When I noticed the silhouette of a person
Standing outside of my window
Appearing to look directly at me,
And I drew off my covers
Ready to make the long jump to the floor
Knowing my feet would carry me
Away from the stranger outside
Into the safe haven of my parents bedroom;
Where the shout of my voice
Would awaken them to our rescue,
And cause the eerie presence to flee.
My hand still clung to the top of my covers,
As I realized the silhouette was in my room.
A cold chill overcame me.
There was no escape from this terror.
My body began to shake
Trembling with fear,
And my eyes could not look away
From the shadowy figure standing before me.
It stood perfectly still
In the light
Coming off the lamp
Across the street
Which shined into the window,
And I could make out clearly
The transparent lines forming this body
Where no facial expressions could be seen,
As the light passed through its apparent shape.
There was no heaviness of breathing
Coming from someone who had
Broken into a home,
And getting caught
Knowing they were in a place
Where they were not allowed;
No hint of breathing at all.
My muscles tightened
Throughout my body,
As my breathing became very shallow
Waiting for its next move.
Seeming like forever
Frozen in the state of helplessness;
My eyes dared not to blink
Wishing I could become invisible,
And find a way out of this situation.
Then without warning
It raised its arm
Pointing towards the ceiling,
And I,
I did the only thing conceivable
In the mind of a ten-year-old boy;
Throwing the covers over my head
I whispered over and over again
My God, take this away, take this away!
Repeating the words again and again
Until the air under my covers
Began to smother me with its weight.
The sheets on my bed
Were drenched with sweat
Pouring out from every gland
Found in my shaken state of being.
Finding it hard to breathe
I had to come up for air
Not wanting to surface,
And face that fear which had overcome me.
I held my breath
Letting the covers, ever slowly,
Be drawn down from my face.
Turning first with my eyes
I looked upon the window of my room.
The shadow was gone.
I peered around the entire room
With the covers clinched tightly
Being held directly near my face.
The room was empty
Of the presence that once haunted me.
I laid there in bed,
Eyes wide open
Waiting for the morning sun
To awaken me from my nightmare.
Waiting for the light of day
To shine into my room
That I may find enough comfort
To fall once again into the stronghold
Of peaceful sleep.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-11-06 10:31:40
Indeed, the shadow knows, as Jung has taught us. Most of us are not in touch with our shadow because it is found in the cave of the subconscious and we fear it, so we project it unto others. In Plato’s myth of the cave, those shadows on the wall projected by the fire are real enough to those who are in the cave but are revealed to be shadows only to those who have the courage to break their chains, leave the cave and look at the sun. But to remain in the sun without ever returning to the cave and confront one’s shadow there is also dangerous: one then thinks oneself “enlightened” and fails to see that nobody does light unto oneself. Dante meets one such in a dark cave “doing light unto himself” with his own decapitated head in the guise of a lantern. He is Bertran del Bornio, the lantern man, a poet who has abused God’s greatest gift, language and has fomented enmity and dissension, forever confronting the terror of his own shadow.

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