In the darkroom, there is not space to breathe.
In the darkroom, there is not light,
Nor possibility of light;
Not love, nor the possibility of love.
Possibility is in the lightspace:
In the darkroom, there is only certainty
Or confusion.
This is how it is,
Or everything collapsing.
Never enlarging,
Except in the dismaying growth
Of disaster.
Nothing begins here:
This is the graveyard of hope.

This is the darkroom.

Here is
Every river you never sat beside;
Every lover who never really knew you;
Every kiss that missed the mark;
Every touch that was too clumsy.
Every field you did not play in;
Every star you did not wish upon;
Every moon you missed watching;
Every blanket you did not lie on.
Every smile that was witheld from you;
Every summer sky that was clouded;
Every friendship you never made;
Every tree you did not climb.
Every car you cannot drive;
Every bicycle you cannot ride;
Every journey you cannot make;
Every dream you cannot shape.
Every hope that has not happened;
Every chance you did not take;
Every childhood you did not have;
Every kindness you have not known.
Every mountain you have not climbed;
Every fairy you did not see;
Every spirit you cannot feel;
Every dance you were not asked to join.
Every bravery that you could not summon;
Every future you will not chase;
Every race you did not run;
Every insult to the dignity of your soul.
Every shaving of the grandeur of your spirit.
Every bruise and every scratch,
Upon the surface of your heart;
And every flinch of your body
At the impossibility of life lived free.

Here is the history of your disappointment.
Here is the catalogue of your just
Here is the dark winding sheet
In which you are wrapping the stiff child of your life.

Here is
Every father who could have been there,
But was not;
Every mother who could have nurtured you,
But did not;
Every family that could have known you,
But could not;
Every town that could have prided in you,
But could not see;
Every culture in whose arms
You twisted to be free.
Here is the memory of being among your people.

Here is the delight of travelling in unknown lands
that you have not known
And here is knowing yourself at home
as you never have.
Here is your carefree living
And here is the joy of living in the fullness
Of all the responsibilites
that you flail in.

Oh you guard this darkroom tight!
How you do.
Without the darkroom, love,
Who would you be?

In here is
jumping as high as you are able
Into the vastness of your life;
Here is the knowledge of the Underworld,
Being lost in the ever-dismaying darkness.

The darkroom is not the demon.
The demon is what locks you there.
The hero knows the darkroom;
The lost live there.


2 thoughts on “Darkroom

  1. Oh Tom. Wow! All those Every…’s right to the heart of it.

    “Here is the history of your disappointment.
    Here is the catalogue of your just
    Here is the dark winding sheet
    In which you are wrapping the stiff child of your life.”

    Yes, absolutely. And reminds me a little of Arthur Rimbaud’s Night in Hell with his concert of hells – a hell for my pride…

    You are one hell of a poet Tom. I’m not even close. I’ve put a link to you on my blog so anyone can find you there. But my blog is a little thing next to your visions.

    “The poet makes himself a seer by a long prodigious disordering of the senses” as Rimbaud once wrote.

  2. This is another poem that really “got” me. I enjoyed the stark, repetitive rhythm, and the mystery of it.

    I am left wondering if the darkroom is the treasure chest of my soul or the prison of my nightmares, or maybe both.

    My favourite lines are the very last two – they remind me of “Also the Mortals Ran”, how there are no heroes without those who end up lost:

    “The hero knows the darkroom;
    The lost live there.”

    …and maybe the ones who lost the key will find the door again one day and become their own heroes?

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