In talking about admitting our own tendency toward injustice, prejudice, small-mindedness and need to face into it for spiritual growth, I remembered a poem I wrote in college about my own early confrontation with this side of things, which thinkers like Jung call our “shadow side”. I share this as an invitation to all of us to explore our shadow sides.
How have you first experienced this shadow side? How have you made peace with it? I look forward to hearing that from some of you.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
Rose-hued rays slink toward eastern skies
while I scale the mount where dawn and dusk
meet melded, like lovers intertwined.
There shadows dance ‘pon an earthen husk
as I search for new paths with blood-shot eyes,
routes lacking the darkened underbrush
of crumbling houses and dreamless lies.
Yet merely the Dark Man do I spy
perched here atop our shadeless peak.
With night-cold skin and flaming eye,
my gaze and touch he ghostly meets
while with an echoing haunting cry
he knocks me, hurtling, ‘neath his feet.
Leaping, his frigid form to grasp, my
limbs entangle him in crushing grip
which would a mortal cause to die
but the Dark Man it does not even trip.
His claw-like hand instead he lets fly
and, with but a brush, shatters my hip.
Pain throbs through my body while I try,
through aching sweat-worn hours without rest,
the Dark man’s harsh clasp to undermine
til I glimpse light dawning in the West.
When, with trembling voice, “Release me!” he cries
and I, “Not until you call me blessed”.
So, arms outstretched, he me sanctifies.
That morn, as sunlight melts the shrouding mist,
a new name I gain, new paths to climb,
with no warring shadows in their midst
for no longer a heel-grabber am I
but he who fights with men and gods and lives.