“We Grow Accustomed to the Dark”

Here is a poem inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson: “We grow accustomed to the dark.”  The first line is hers, the rest mine.


We grow accustomed to the dark.

Slowly over time, the shadows creep.

Winding into our brains –

the inexorable turn of a screw.

Another child dies, another child kills.

The light dims.

We stagger, hands outstretched, eyes acclimating to the gray.

Westside Middle School.  Thurston High School.  Columbine.  Rocori High.  Red Lake.  Virginia Tech.  Chardon High School.  Sandy Hook.  Sparks Middle School.  Isla Vista.

I’m blinded in the knowing.

I blink.  I breathe.  I pray.

Let me not grow accustomed to this dark.


Musical Moment


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3 Responses to “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark”

  1. John Widen says:

    Darn, you, Anne. Do with this as you wish:

    I grow accustomed to the dark.
    It does not help.
    The muffled cries of children huddled
    In closets, bathrooms, under desks;
    The tread of boots in the hall;
    The clack-click snap of a chambered round;
    The innocuous pop, pop-pop-pop of a rifle;
    Pierce my pillow.
    Then, quiet.
    I edge the pillow from my eyes.
    It is still dark.

    I ate all my chocolate. – John

  2. Francesca says:

    “Dirge Without Music”
    by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
    With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains,––but the best is lost.

    The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
    They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

    Down, down, down into the darness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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