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

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