In a Dark Time
1. In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
2. I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
3. I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
4. A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
5. I live between the heron and the wren, beasts of the hill, and serpents of the den.
6. What's madness but nobility of soul
7. At odd with circumstances? The day's on fire!
8. I know the purity of pure despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
9. That place among the rocks—is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have.
10. A steady storm of correspondence!
11. A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, and in broad day the midnight comes again!
12. A man goes out far to find out what he is—
13. Death of the self in a long tearless night, all natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
14. Dark, darker my light, and darker my desire.
15. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, keeps buzzing at the sill. Which is I?
16. A fallen man I climb out of my fear.
17. The mind enters itself, and God the mind, and one is One, free in the tearing wind.
by Theodore Rhoethke
1. This line has a literary image, which is a paradox and to see is a visual image. It signifies that during hard times soul begins to recognize clearly what is important to it.
2. The deepening shade is kinetic and is a sensory image. Meeting his shadow in the deepening shade implies that the speaker is seeing his actions.
3. When the speaker hears his echo in the echoing wood that means he hears himself. To hear is an auditory sensory image, and echo and echoing give tone color assonance.
4. A lord of mature weeping to a tree is an apostrophe and it means the speaker is looking for answers and comfort in the simplicity of life.
5. The speaker saying that he lives between the birds and animals implies that he has a bright beautiful side of himself and a dark and ugly side as well.
6. Comparing madness to the nobility of soul is a paradox, which means going through the dark can bring light to soul.
7. "The day is on fire" in the poem is the fulcrum. That moment that brings change in imagery to the poem. It is when the speaker is in the peak of emotions and confusion.
8. Knowing the purity of pure despair," means that the speaker begins to understand the reality of life. This line also gives tone color of type alliteration when the speaker says purity and pure. When the speaker says, "my shadow pinned against a sweating wall" and asking if it is that place among the rocks, he is trying to say he is under pressure in life.
10. "A steady storm of correspondence" implies the speakers' relationship with nature, which inspires him. Steady storm gives the line tone color of type alliteration.
11. When the speaker says, "night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, and in broad day the midnight comes again!" he is referring to the days passing by.
12. "A man goes out far to find out what he is", means the speaker tries to understand himself, and then the next line which says "death of the self in a long, tearless night, all natural shapes blazing unnatural light", implies that the speaker dreams through the nights and all his answers he gets in the dreams seem so paradoxical.
14. When he says "dark, darker my light, and darker my desire", he is trying to say that life gets difficult, and his whole world gets difficult as well.
15. The soul like some heat-maddened summer fly is a literary image of type simile. Heat is a sensory image of type thermal. The summer fly also buzzing gives tone color of type onomatopoeia. The line implies that the speaker keeps struggling with his own life.
16. "A fallen man, I climb out of my fear" means that after going through all the difficult times, he finally gets to a stage in life when his life is all good.
17. This last line implies that the speaker finally finds God, and the outcome making him understand himself and his relationship with God, giving him freedom and making him a happy man.