It’s nearly the equinox.

It is noticeable now, how quickly the light is drawing back from the edges of the days.  Outside jobs cannot be left. A torch is sometimes useful.  I do mourn the loss of light, but know that the darkness has its compensations – lamplight, wood fires, stars.

Below is a poem I wrote on Sizewell beach.  The photos above are from Walberswick, a little along the coast, where the North Sea has the same dark beauty.  I sat on the beach as the light faded, both watching and experiencing the loss of it, and the spread of the deeper blue of early night.  I saw my field of vision narrowing, and had a sensation of being, therefore, somehow at the centre, at the focus of what light there was.  An illusion, of course, based on the wonderful way the eye works – but a powerful and helpful one.  It enabled me to get off the beach when I finally turned my back on the sea.  It is like having a lamp for your feet.

While it lasted, that sense of being at the centre – one of many centres – was a place of prayer, a sacred place. I was aware of God, the source of light – and also of the light, the sea and the sky that were around me.  It was one of those times outside time, when we simply are, and are aware of that which is greater than us – aware of our own smallness, and our own participation in something vast, and beautiful.

Light, and its absence, have been on my mind as I have been writing about Jesus’ I AM sayings, particularly “I am the Light of the World”.  Perhaps that’s why this villanelle surfaced in my memory.

It is a loose interpretation of the verse form, with its three line stanzas and repeated lines, circling around, but it was the one that seemed to fit what the poem was trying to be.



Here, quiet on this stony shore, light
drains from the edges first. Blue deepens to blue,
leaving one pool of brightness against the night,

as the starlight, faint at first, shines bright
on the black waves that rise and fold,
here, quiet on this stony shore. Light

flecks the foam that trembles and shines white,
as the circle of darkness turns closer,
leaving one pool of brightness against the night.

Now, in the blackness, bright birds stop their flight
and shut their starfilled eyes against the dark.
Here, quiet on this stony shore, light

shines on white pebbles, shimmering and starbright
as shadows seep and spread like tar rising,
leaving one pool of brightness against the night.

The stars, the foam, and the pebbles shine with light
that washes and wells and rises
here, quiet on this stony shore. Light
leaving one pool of brightness against the night.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s