Monday, November 13, 2006

A Palindrome

The basement of my apartment building is a dark and windowless place with a single bare lightbulb dangling from a spidery attachment in the middle of the ceiling. As you walk further into the basement you find the switches of other lights (enough to illuminate the room pretty well, actually), but that bare bulb on its own seems to emit more shadows than light.

It's been years since I last felt afraid of the dark, but the half-dark of the basement in the light of that single bulb can still make my spine shiver. Of course I keep the bulb on anyway, since a creepy basement where I can sort-of see is better than a non-creepy one where I'm blind. But the thought of a darkness that's preferable to light inspired me to think of a behavioral palindrome:

The room was very dark, which made
the child cry in terror
The mother lit a candle, which
turned out to be an error.

The tiny flame cast shadows like
the shreds of scary dreams
so that the child couldn't stop
her shrill and piercing screams.

The shadows terrified her more
than darkness ever did —
that’s why her mom blew out the light
and in the dark they hid.


Anonymous NoStar said...

A Palindrome is a sentence or word that reads the same backwards and forwards. I don't see it.

Did you mean to say "Quatrain", a verse of four lines?

9:18 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I was thinking more along the lines of "start in the dark, sit in the light, end in the dark." But the fact that I had to explain it shows that clearly it didn't work.

Serves me right, trying to write poetry while sober.

4:06 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

I have a neighbor who keeps a bright basement light on all the time, I assume one of the kids insists on it.

I'm quite happy in the dark myself ; perhaps the best being bicycling 3am country roads down to the store, with no traffic and only night sounds, with the lights off where the road permits seeing where it is.

My route home from the school bus stop as a kid went through a woods, which was more of a problem in the dark, since you walked into stuff.

3:53 PM  

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