Psalms in Darkness – a poem by Dennis Daly

Psalms in Darkness
Down the ethereal ocean, the fall
Unnerved the princes of heaven. Their power
Diminished to deep unsubstantial dust,
A feral den to lodge their pride.
No, they were not ashamed. They trusted
The magnificence of You, You who now
Hide your face, who forgive the darkening
Clouds that veil the molten center,
Who forgive the vanity of words. 
Must you forswear the unforgivable?
In song our prayers do not ascend
Your mighty battlement of space
And time. They cringe with incredulity,
They crawl aside to little rooms
Where love becomes mere artifice.
Alone they loll unconsummated,
Futile. Their sorrow too keen, too lavish.
Contrite to a final fault, they sink
Without aspiring to their mission’s courage.
They sink, forever loosed, they sink.
One seraph stayed its will,
A spirit lifted high above
The pit of tenuity’s realm,
Encompassed then by urgings,
By loyalty to mulish origins, always
There to issue life’s rules,
Feathered structures drawn to numbers,
Numbers that connect truth to truth,
That resist the coal and brimstone tempest,
Waiting for you, Lord, the face of light.
Rage not against me, shake not my parts,
My bones, Lord, that house
Coursing hate. Free my heart from haunt,
Let my hands calm the world,
The chaos before me. Let my fallen 
Self find joy again in justice.
Let me turn the sly nod, the sneer,
The hungry look. Let me caress
With written words, create a stillness
That fends off fitful noise with beauty.
I would be spared. Oh, airy Lord,
Spurned by heaven’s obstinate rule,
Release me from perpetual torture.
Show hell’s mercy, then bridge each gap
I face with liberating reason,
With lust for resplendent beauty.
As I hold my head up, doling out
A knowledge that repeats in many beings
And many places. I bless my equals,
Who worship truth and possibility.
My signature bleeds, multiplies
One hundred times, one thousand times,
Ten million times, an infinite quagmire I sink into.
Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea Maximus culpa.
Is one’s blood so sacred? A scratch,
A momentary flow. Nothing more.
Circling me, the red riot of letters
Remembers that written certainty
Grown bigger than the life I’ve lived,
Bigger than the death I’ll die.
Witness all that I have become.
I am torn within a tempest
Torn by beaks of preying birds
Tumbling with me, fiend to fiend.
What dynamo of wind whirls
Me, blends me with faithless things?
My world envisioned into being,
An eternal hell so deserved,
Without doubt my doing, a conjuration
Oppressing me. Yet I ask for nothing.
Breathers of shadows fly through chambers
Of stalled sentences and grammar that conjures
Each day. Here perceptions and plots
Beget dreams that beget more dreams,
All within the mortal eggshell,
A universe of disquiet and doubt,
An apprehension that solidifies
Belief before blown through
The pinhole toward eternity’s
Blustery beginnings and tepid ends.

Dennis Daly has published seven books of poetry and poetic translations. He writes reviews regularly for The Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene and on occasion for the Notre Dame Review, Ibbetson Street, Wilderness House, and the Somerville Times. He occasionally reads his poetry at various venues. Please see his blog at

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