Darkness is as Light to you

2007

About the painting

This painting touches the deeply personal. It is a triptych, the panels created for a commission which never quite happened, but about which I am delighted to have the panels. I had no idea what would be here.

I painted the centre first, catching my shadow against the panel as I stood in my studio which is a conservatory. The left hand panel came next, with the little girl sheltering herself not from the night, but from the darkness heaped upon her. She found her occupations and her source of light.

The right hand panel was the last, evoking the faith message of harvest from grains. Gold glows all around.

The title is from Psalm 139, always my companion: “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

My poem, Breathing Light, gives an indication of the movement from the left to the right of this painting: 

Breathing Light

Of course it’s hard work.
Of course.
It’s terrifying.

It’s immense,
Doing the monumental task of lifting;
Of lifting the grave stones;
Of heaving the box covers;
Of prising open the trunk lids;
Of sweeping heavy damask wrapping out of the way;
Of wrenching off swaddling clothes in unwilling lengths at a time;
Of course it’s hard work –
lifting the heavy settled weights of my history.

The weighted covers had their purpose.
They protected any thought of re-living.
They protected from moments (and swathes) of history that no one would want to remember.

And they were beautiful!

The covers were so wonderful.
So effectively sheltered and archived all that held pain.
Stunning colourful, classical - stones, covers, lids, wrapping … swaddling.
You might have been one who commented!
You might have been one to compliment,
To positively critique,
To say how magnificent they were, how well they worked and how truly beautiful all crafted coverings were.

Profoundly and creatively, the murky dark effluent locked into dark, unlit spaces.

Of course it’s hard work.
Moving everything which held a life of its own,
Well beyond the reason for its creation (and keeping in place).

But on a day when I could not speak, and the lids began to move themselves, I had no choice.

Take a breath. Take enormous lungful, steel muscles and heave.
Move.
From darkness to light.
In this light I breathe.
The light of all life flutters and shudders in my lungs.
The stones cry out.
The covers rattle.
The lids lift themselves.
The wrapping, swaddling slithers its own direction.
Off.

Off.

Lift, move, heave, shift, reveal.

Breathing light,
The monumental task gains wings.
Light as a feather,
Kingfisher brilliant.

Suddenly, in a flash of shocking brightness, all hidden becomes revealed.

And there is light!
And life.
And liberation.

Breathing.
In the Light.
Breathing of the light.
Breathing.
Light.

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