Darkened Light

A poem inspired by brightness and shadow at Durham’s celebrated Lumiere Festival, 2017.



In darkness, one can find oneself a home,
A land of black where all are equal made,
Space, abyss, infinity free to roam,
No edges or end, where nothing can fade.
Shade and shadow, black upon yet more black,
It is easier to be lost than found,
But in its depths peace yet waits, and repose
Can be restored to those who of it lack.
In darkness one can be safely drowned,
To darkness, closest sins can be disclosed.



Inside this consuming maw senses increase:
Hearing notes slightest nocturnal refrains;
Scent is accentuated without cease;
Minuscule Tastes revealed absent of strain;
Every breeze and breath detected by Touch.
All but for Sight. Darkness. Unknown.
In the land of the blind, no one is king.
Darkness levels. Equalness is the crutch.
Flight of fancy, imagination flown,
Ideas swarm in shadows, born of nothing.



Light, however, finds a way to be seen,
Through smallest cracks it can blaze its pathways,
On surfaces, in air it casts its sheen.
Dustmoats are testaments, suspended rays,
Slashes through shadow, wounds of brightness made,
A blaze, radiance, contrasting beauty,
Light is pure; and in darkness purer still,
Without one, the other’s magic is lost.
Light and darkness, bound by diverse duty,
Both have wrought a world by conflicting will.
For light, darkened beauty is a small cost.


James Murphy is a postgraduate Masters student in International Relations and one of the Creative editors and photographers at The Bubble. Writing and reading have always been a major and loved part of his life, whether it’s poetry or analyses of Asian economic markets.

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