The Shadow Tendrils

The Winter Solstice has traditionally been a time of reflection (both figuratively and literally!), particularly with the coming of the New Year. We decorate our environs with brightly colored lights and candle flames, or adorn evergreen trees (which, unlike us, don’t go dormant in the dark, cold months) with light-reflective crystal and metallic ornaments, in an effort to remind ourselves of all that is good, beautiful, and right with our lives, and to spur ourselves on to tweak and futz with aspects that could benefit from a change.

Today, I stumbled across this Villanelle I wrote several years ago smack dab in the middle of summer just after a Hawaiian vacation… It gives me pause to reflect on the ways that light can so easily be obscured by shadow without a good tweaking now and then… May Love and Light be with you all this Holiday Season, and always!

I sat deep in thought for a good, long while
beneath the shadow of a banyan tree
whose tendrils sought the river of denial

and reached the furthest edges of my isle.
Though entirely surrounded, I was free.
I sat deep in thought for a good, long while.

Bird calls damped in the darkness did beguile
from untold hollows looming in that tree,
whose tendrils sought the river of denial.

My mind climbed a high, winding cliff-top stile
to a fog-cloaked abode above the sea.
I sat deep in thought for a good, long while.

But my heights and depths could not reconcile
paths masked by the twilight’s shadow in me,
whose tendrils sought the river of denial.

Hid by its veil, my soul’s begrudging smile
stayed swathed in shadows of the banyan tree.
I sat deep in thought for a good, long while,
while feeding from the river of denial.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

banyan_tree_kauai

2 thoughts on “The Shadow Tendrils

  1. Winter’s more a time of ruptures than reconciliations (Oh…do I sound like a Rune parrot?). And while this lovely piece juxtaposes the dualities of our natures, the calm, soothing delivery conveys acceptance of the (psychic) seasons (genuine acceptance, not just resignation). As you say, ‘light can so easily be obscured by shadow’, but a shadow can only be cast in the presence of it.
    Great choice of images and I do so love that word, ‘futz’!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing insight into the tone of acceptance vs. resignation in this poem! Thank you for bringing it to the fore!
    I agree that even in the face of apparent “denial” here, there is also a betrayal of innate understanding that our psychic seasons are not entirely out of our control, yet it can be hard to take responsibility for choosing whether primarily to inhabit the light, or the shadows it casts. I do so begrudgingly (if at all)–but, yes, the timely posting of this piece is a deliberate attempt to *futz* around in the darkness and invite in that light, which (as you so astutely observe), by definition, is out there, and is always an available source of sustenance…
    Your beautiful interaction with my poem serves as apt (and rewarding!) proof of my theory at work…✨😊✨

    Liked by 1 person

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