IDYLLS IN DARKNESS: Selected Poems by Troy D. Smith



"Once," she said, "I dreamed

I flew high above the clouds

Beneath the pale moon

Soaring on the winds of the night

And the world was miles beneath me,

And the people were like insects,

And their cares were smaller still.

But when I awoke I was cold, so cold."

"I cannot remember my dreams," he replied,

"But merely lapse into lethargy,

Sinking into the embracing darkness

My mind covered with a torpid veil.

But in the morning I have a strange sensation

That I have traveled far to a pleasant land

Which I can neither recall nor define,

And it saddens me greatly."

They sought then to travel together,

One giving direction, the other warmth.

But in the end, he looked up and saw her

Rising into the clouds, arms outstretched,

And he sank, consigned,

Into the alluring darkness.


Came a horseman, riding, riding

Through the wasteland, dry and dying,

In the desert wind, moaning, sighing,

A pale horseman, riding, riding.

Chill and somber, grey and ashen

Illumined by the lightning's flashing

Surrounded by the thunder crashing

Like the angel's final claxon.

With starless eyes made of stone

Astride a grim and silent roan

Came he riding, silent, lone,

Name and nature all unknown.

And many saw, and many stared,

And wondered where the stranger fared

What secrets held he, dark, unshared.

Some made to ask, but no one dared.

No word spoke he to any man

No gesture made with face nor hand

Only stared with eyes like a darkling brand

And rode into the shifting sand.

And many claimed, when he was out of sight,

They knew his face; and well they might

For often had he ridden by the moon's pale light

Among their dreams in the murky night,

Among the shadows, out of sight.


A man spoke to me of glories

Of marvels to see, of riches to gain.

I told him these were only stories,

To chase after them would be insane.

For unlike him I knew, you see,

The truth -the bitter truth of life.

That it is all an empty dream,

An endless sea of pain and strife.

But my warnings were to no avail

For he would not be deterred.

He boarded a ship and then set sail.

His failure I knew to be assured.

Many years passed 'till he came back around.

We both were tired. We both were old.

I still had not moved from that same piece of ground

And my friend was clothed in finest gold.

Clothed in glittering

Shimmering gold...


Midnight, and the sun has fallen

Long ago into the sea

Of twilight

(but it will rise again, they say.)

So in fitting with the somber mood,

The chilly air of wintry night,

I set aside bright daylight dreams

And wear upon my shoulders the solemn cloak

Of evening.

Leave 'till the morrow my

Sonnets in sunlight

And weave instead

Idylls in darkness.


I saw an old woman

Dancing to music

By which she used to leap and sing

And love

And she danced a slow

Shuffling silence

Whose whispered melody was broken

By a sob


"Come inside," she told the world.

"There is room, and it is warm

And bright and lovely."

She flashed a hollow smile,

And opened the door

And they looked inside

And saw that it was dark

And empty

And she cried.