Poetry: Ten Metaphors for Light
TEN METAPHORS FOR LIGHT
by AISHA DOWN
God in you
to the God
in another place
The God that beats in sky and sun
is it in all things
speaking in hot rays through your skin
Skin that shines on all things: apples, men at work,
great boats on howling seas—
unknowable beneath their light-skins
as the bodies of strangers,
the shadows inside of faces.
hot beneath the tongues of sky.
Water in the morning
to rinse sky and hands and you:
great waves from the clean sun.
Feathers riding skyward on backs of birds.
A white owl at flickering distance
watching the years of night.
burnt as the dust
all those eternal miles
about the ankles.
A soul, because it cannot be photographed
or caught alone.
for it lies above the heart.
Blood, for it moves
with no sound through
these cells of days.
Lilith poetry editor, Alicia Ostriker — just appointed New York State Poet: “Ten Metaphors For Light” fascinates and ravishes and teases, all at the same time. How can so many things all be metaphors for light, which is itself a metaphor for so many things? Imagination rules this poem. But a thread of sensual joy unites these images, along with a sense of play, and of the abundance of the universe which began, we are told, with “Let there be light.”