Darkness Comes to Cudgel My Brain

“The Light, the Light!” I cry, covering my face, feeling crushed by glory’s weight in the space of my small frame.

 

The leaves of the oak tree glisten with rain
As Darkness comes to cudgel my brain
Tonight with fingers, clenched fists—
Probing, pummelling, heaping on shame,
Thick as ghost-fog and obscuring mists.

Birch boles are black in the shade,
Their creamy skin can only fade
Away, shrink away, hide from eyes
Ever-watching since the day they were made,
Swaying into the snare of the lies…

…Lies that enter the heart, rotting the core
Of the trees-turned-dark; of me, a whore
Inside—my mind, my heart—broken,
Fallen in love with myself, wanting more,
Always insatiable for a counterfeit token

Of love—which is only lust thinly masked,
Glossy outside, alluring as red wine, long-casked
And flowing free—with no thought of tomorrow
When the head-shattering pain remains, unasked,
And Darkness leaves in its wake only false sorrow

Which we call guilt, that cannot cover up lust
Any more than gilt leaf can make a bust
Pure gold all the way through, or trying hard
Can make us new; we can only rust
Under sin’s corrosion, once innocent, now marred.

Tomorrow arrives, is today; and the heart-shattering
Pain of disfiguring corruption is scattering
All faculties of feeling, of sorrow, of true shame
And the eruption of sin, full-fledged, isn’t flattering—
I am excoriated, a shell, with only myself to blame.

Night drones on within, filling the hollow
With nought but shadows. Here I wallow
In self-pity and despair, I cannot heal
Myself, save myself—this is hard to swallow,
And know with my life, as I no longer feel

Alive, feel at all, or know repentance-giving-grief.
Inside, the Darkness flutters, kicks, seeks relief
In a wail, a cry for life-breath, for the burning
Spirit of Holiness to come as the thief
Who steals my heart, plunders me back, returning

Me to the rightful King of the world wide—
Eyes wide, as feeling returns with the Spirit inside
Of my fragile heart-shards—redemption is here.
Apathy drains out, life surges in to veins long denied
Its crimson tide by the strangling fingers of fear…
Of being found out, found wanting—ludicrous pride

Kept me locked in the gnawing, growing dark
That threatened to keep me trapped like a lark,
Caged. Enraged at my own selfish choices,
But powerless to save myself—the truth, stark—
I begged for mercy, “Yours.” A Voice says…

My face is in His hands, turned toward His eyes,
I see them glistening with tears at my cries
For help, desperate though they were,
I couldn’t get out of the dirt, I surmise,
Because I was so focussed on me, so sure

That I could do something to save my soul,
Yet always giving up or in, a wobbly foal
Unable to even stand on the legs given me
Without the Spirit’s breath standing me whole
And upright—from Darkness I am made free…

“The Light, the Light!” I cry, covering my face,
Feeling crushed by glory’s weight in the space
Of my small frame. The holy, searing Light
Is what I need for healing, soundness—both grace—
To fix what I cannot, to cure me from sin’s bite.

Jody Byrkett
Jody Byrkett is the editor of the Pray channel. She lives in picturesque Colorado where she enjoys hiking by sunshine or by starlight, foggy mornings and steaming mugs of tea, reading classic literature and theological essays, studying words and their origins, and practising the art of hospitality. (She also has a habit of spelling things ‘Britishly’.)

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