“To See The Light”

Funereal drapes cover backless wall niches
where panes of glass
once channeled summer light.

Faded velvet hangs loose
over shattered door frames
impeding easy entrance
or expedient exit.

A single candle sends a feeble glow
over a book on the table
centered in the belly
of the blackened room.

A boy covers his ears against the sounds
of gunfire in the alley,
human cries of pain,
the rumble of tanks
on a pitted road.

He has pencilled a quote
in the margin
of his required reading:
“If freedom of speech is taken away,
then dumb and silent we may be led,
like sheep to the slaughter.”

He whispers the words aloud
as a flash of light invades his space
and another fissure
appears in the wall.

The boy winces
then prays for the chanting protesters
who are being silenced
outside the shrouded house
and hopes
that he,
and they,
will live to see
the light of freedom.

(The “freedom of speech” quotation: George Washington.)

(Written for dVerse Poets, Poetics: Bringing Light to Darkness. September 9, 2014.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to “To See The Light”

  1. claudia says:

    “If freedom of speech is taken away,
    then dumb and silent we may be led,
    like sheep to the slaughter.”… so very true – and it is so important that we never stop fighting for it

  2. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Excellent take on the prompt, as some of us in many corners of the globe hunker down behind tattered drapes dodging stray bullets, dreaming of liberty, freedom, civil rights; & the strength of the poem is that it could reside in Ferguson or Fallujah.

  3. sad just thinking about how we have to fight for freedom of speech; tv and mainstream media do their best to silence us. Seems like Social Media is the loudest voice of the people.

  4. That oppression of speech and the use of violence is the deepest darkness known.. it’s the darkness where we need the safety valve of saying what we truly believe.. and this darkness seems to be spreading in a way i had never thought.

  5. You paint an utterly terrifying picture of living in oppressed, war torn conditions, yet this young boy clings to his studies and knows first hand what those words mean. Really like the imagery of light. Ironically, I am in Paris, two blocks from a trading house where Beaumarchais supplied arms for George Washington.

    • vbholmes says:

      What a wonderful time to be in Paris! I just read a short piece on Beaumarchais and he seems to have been quite a character–I intend to read more. Thanks for the introduction, Lynne, and have a great time in the City of Light.

  6. Grace says:

    I love that quote and ending lines evoked that prayer that both sides, no matter which principle or faith would live to see the light of freedom ~ Beautiful message here ~

  7. ayala says:

    Great quote and I love that he pencilled the quote
    in the margin
    of his required reading.

  8. This is beautiful in its vision… terror and hope… oh, I pray hope is stronger.

  9. whispered aloud, love that. such a great write and I also love how you incorporate the quote.

  10. Kathy says:

    I think everyone feel this weight on their shoulders, some a great deal more than others, clearly; but your write is fittingly poignant.

  11. Freedom of speech and expression is what makes me more patriotic than all other rights combined..and finding the truth of other countries makes me understand what freedom really is..as before i knew it..i too was never really free..it is a right..but a choice too..and making the choice happen is truly..i think..the only longer term potential for any chance of this boy to have a sleep-full night…one day when freedom rings true in all the word..a bell of human truth..never to be quieted again….with fires of arms..and bleeding arms….

  12. billgncs says:

    VB – some must pay for other’s to be free. How soon we forget though.

  13. Excellent poem vb, powerful images to consider….

  14. Sumana Roy says:

    I believe we shall overcome this oppression and unite to speak in unison against such darkness…love the image of the boy, candle light….

  15. MarinaSofia says:

    Very moving – abstract notions such as freedom of thought translated into very poignant and memorable moments – this boy, the meagre candlelight, the book… I see you’ve gone political as well with this prompt!

  16. Polly says:

    I very much like the portrait of the boy ‘…covers his ears against the sounds…’ so vivid.

  17. So sad that decades past before a ‘Light’ shines the realizations of all things lost. Hopefully freedom will prevail again. Such an honorable voice writing here.

  18. wolfsrosebud says:

    dramatic write… your first word set the pace for the entire piece

  19. rmp says:

    wow…positively stunning…I’m at a loss for words beyond that…beautifully written.

  20. zongrik says:

    the single candle really goes to show the loneliness

    Notes From A Metro Line

  21. lynndiane says:

    A single candle, a young boy, and truth…there’s the light of hope here, in spite of heavy darkness.

  22. I agree that our freedoms must be protected. I can’t begin to imagine the horror of what you describe in your poem, of living in constant oppression and fear. Very powerful.

  23. expedient exit.

    One reason to sit in last row in back at church service.

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