Featured Poem: “Arriving Light” by Denis Stokes

Photo by Christian Wagner at Unsplash.com

Arriving Light

Never ceasing, as if some god’s love were possible,
This arriving light. Dawn’s anticipation is always
Obvious, …bird mutterings in the day’s first wind,
A silent hope. Then soon a light falling as dew,
The water shining, the leaves and rooftops,
Windows looking beyond their blindness, the rooms
Alive, the parents’ faces, the lovers’ limbs.
It travels into the close corners until streetdust
Shines, the edges of sleeves, the hands, edges
Of plastic even, edges of steel as the wires
Catch light and words, swinging, reaching into light.
It enters morning like a woman, or sweeps across
Afternoon, holds evening in a slow embrace,
A sadness of almost leaving. Yet then, headlights,
Streetlamps, the headlamps of dark’s spelunkers
While the prayers reach up, the lovers reach out
And the rooms become alive, our screens and
Pages, our faces saved for a dream remembering
Each candle, tenebres holding light’s gold dust
As though a song’s always at the tip of every
Tongue. We are leaving soon, my love, this stone
Turning away into another time, away from this,
Here, now. It will sweep us, drop us to God
Knows where as though in a film when out of dark
The picture changes and we will arrive, light
On our shoulders, face, our amazing hands,
Weaving only the old shadows we will have soon
Forgotten, of the light we have come to know the light
By, the shapes in light, this endless forgiving
Even as it has been cast, searching out now and
Now the pain it allows, balm given, each to each other.


From Denis Stokes:
“Poetry and prayer are the great integrators. I would pray poetry continually. I’ve been trying to meditate twice a day within the Benedictine tradition ( …weaving my word between pitches, with canoe strokes) for close to thirty years. I shake up approaches, explore other traditions, practices. Then there’s much spiritual reading, listening /being in woods, beside waters, in coffeeshops, pubs. On streets.

“I approach poetry as devotional practice. Apart from those times that lightning might strike, there’s much work in waiting, keeping vigil in watching/listening until out of disciplines of love, I might see, sing.”

Denis Stokes was born in Toronto and grew up in Scarborough. A graduate of University of Toronto and Vermont College, he has lived and taught in various northern situations in Canada, often working with First Nations Communities. He now lives in northern Ontario with his wife, with whom he has been graced with four almost grown-up children. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Ireland. He is an avid sports and outdoors enthusiast and has been involved in theater and social justice organizations. He teaches at Nipissing University.