Feature > Poetry
Stephen Dunn

Stephen Dunn

Stephen Dunn is the author of sixteen books of poems, including the recently released Here and Now: Poems and What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009. His Different Hours won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. He is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Richard Stockton College and lives in Frostburg, Maryland.

The Darkness

A light shone in the darkness, but
the darkness did not comprehend it,
couldn't even see itself

       only being itself, inexorably,
and motiveless.

Anyone looking through the window
could see the insides
        of a house—a certain kind

of domesticity—exposed.
But the darkness, so self-absorbed,
believed it could cover up anything.

        If it recognized the light at all,
it was the way an executioner might
recognize the vein he was to put

                           the needle in,

just a little thing
that could be entered to produce
more darkness.

                     Inside the house,
a few people saw illumination
as a sign of hope.

                   But those of us outside,
looking in, knew better.
We could see our parents in the kitchen,

in the bedroom, and, around them,
the proliferation of darkness. We could see
ourselves in the future. Oh darkness,

you son of a bitch, we dared to say,
how you inform us.

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