To shade through, like the deeper
chalks and oil crayons, pulling out
dark tones into waking light, woken
to notice. Shading through,
like a person's soul.
What's left after death
- according to Greeks
- is not you,
a shadow in your shape
that moves on, in your old
habits and ways. It no longer
is you. It no longer is
moved, as it always was
by the dance of light and spirit
you give it. That you gave it. That
made it you. That gave it
So it goes, through old steps,
shuffling off into shadow, stage left. Just so
you know: it is you,
dancing, shining, who creates
and shapes what you leave behind
today. You who you are, are life.
Your memory in everyone's love
and eyes and mind, is but a shade.
The image in mind - that you have made,
that you make now while you live,
every day, and long before you die -
is your shade. Already, you pass, as if
but you make of it a shadow play.
Each impression you leave
with each passing of yours, through
any mind, any pair of eyes - As long
as you live to cut the light, and step
however you wish into it, your deft
decision, your grace and might
bring every shadow of you to life.
In some ways, you could say
that's a great deal realer
than you -
considered in terms
of sheer multiplicity? For you
are only ever in
that one place you shine,
as you leave such array
of your shade, behind.
Yet you yourself are greater,
are the dancer in light, whose life
is what cuts, drapes and arranges
all those shapes, those shades of you,
for others - you do
everything your shade ever can't. Even
stop. Look back, judge the effect, perhaps,
have a moment of self-anguish and criticism?
Some do! And then twist, leap outward with
a cry, or after a cry,
in some new,
new, or at least
strange-to-you way, path, dash, stab,
lash, twirl, pirouette? Not seen
before, in any play of your silhouette
well, they may not cry encore, and you may
say "Hm. That's not really me," but this
is the point: You are the one who tries
you on. At any time, you
can throw new shapes, let old contours
go, bled away in light. An afterimage,
soon to be past all recall. You
are the light designer
of the show you put on
in others lives. It's you,
always, and after all,
- but the shape, and tone, of all you've laid down
and thrown as you go by, shades through. And as you play
at being you, you play against that backdrop. Careful
or careless of it, you choose now, always now: mark,
plot, feel, how to get through this scene, you
choose now: act, and word, and step, and turn, and emphasis, and
what on earth do you mean?
Very little of that has to do with
Greeks, I confess.
They didn't carry their shades out from Hades
into the images, of sense and memory,
that one makes in others while living. A shade
was strictly for afters, for them. But
seems to me, it's the same thing really.
What I thought was kind of wild is that
they knew: your shade was not, and is not
you. Just the shadow your life cast behind
A Pocketful of Poesy was and is again a Poem-a-Day(-on-Average) Blog! For 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and now for 2017 and going forward, you may expect to see 365 poems every year, 366 for leap years.
Try the RANDOM button, to sample the sometimes surprising breadth of quality (and in several Novembers, breathtaking quantity as well), or click the "ANY GOOD" label* for those poems labeled with it. On any poem, old or new, feel free to offer your remarkable insight or critical acumen.
*I haven't yet revisited many pockets and stretches of time to appraise and label the "any goods," so some are missing. Please feel free to point out omissions, or - especially - erroneous inclusions, in comments.