by William W. Runyeon


We do not live in the shadow of the pyramids,

or of the great cathedrals, or of the Eiffel Tower,

or of the Titanic, or of cities abandoned

or destroyed, or of ancient graveyards,

sometimes unearthed by highway construction,

or of more modern graveyards, closer to home,


but we pass through these shadows

with some often unstated sense of their presence;

a passage that at first seems nearly random,

an anecdotal awareness of whatever

sense of the culture into which we are born

rises up into the enterprise of that day’s living;


a self-serving illusion of coherence

cannot be dismissed, nor may it

be fairly embraced; we hold neither the light

nor the shadow, but live them both,

a passage making its pattern, day and night,

sunrise defiant of the rubble, whatever its form.

— This poem appears in the October 30 print issue of NR.

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