Witnesses of Dawn

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

For the Central Washington University Chamber Choir

There’s a thread of connection between us
that glows in the shape of a circle,
beginningless and endless. So deep,
it contains our collective fears and dreams.
So luminous, astronauts can see it from space.

They sit at the space station
looking out the window and remark:
“There’s that person again, persisting and resisting,
creating beauty out of struggle.”
And they become your cheerleaders
without you even knowing it.
When they see storm clouds swirling over you,
they aren’t surprised when you emerge
even brighter than before.

“There they go again,” the astronauts say about you,
“shining like the dawn.”

Darkness has something to teach us,
lessons that can be painful to learn.
But there’s nurturance in darkness, too.
In its silence, we hear echoes
of our many-layered selves.
In its emptiness, we glean
the vastness of Being.

Cleansed by the darkness, we enter the light
eager to engage, eager to create.
We walk into the day as whole people—
not resentful of the darkness, but grateful.
Not weighed down by the journey, but grateful.
We emerge wisdom-keepers, peace-seekers.
In the darkness we begin to heal.
In the light, as witnesses of dawn,
we help others to heal.

The astronauts are outside in their space suits now
fixing a solar panel. A flare catches their attention.
A shooting star? A comet with its tail on fire?
They look down and see:
It’s you—walking down the street,
taking up the space that is rightfully yours,
filling every step with a light so bright,
it’s a beacon beyond worlds.

Yes, pain is part of your story,
but so, too, is this:
the brave persistence of your illumination.

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Marie Marchand is the Poet Laureate of Ellensburg, WA, and her poetry has been published in Crannóg Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, California Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Tiny Seed Journal, and The Awakenings Review. Her second poetry collection, Gifts to the Attentive, was published in May 2022.

Photo credit: Sami Jo Photo


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