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Poetry Friday: Darkness and Light

I'm processing the events of the past few days in poetic fragments. 

Poem, a Haiku: How can the same week Bring spring’s first squirrel sighting And tanks and soldiers? © 2022, Elisabeth Norton, all rights reserved

My husband and I witnessed the Chernobyl disaster from two different continents.

Poem: Chernobyl for me A disaster documented from a distance Unfolding like a serial on the evening news Every night’s instalment ending with a cliffhanger  Chernobyl for you A year of playing inside when the wind blew from the east Of eating only canned vegetables, grown before Of not being allowed to jump in puddles © 2022, Elisabeth Norton, all rights reserved

Last night, I lay in bed on the same continent as Chernobyl, talking with my husband in the darkness when we couldn't sleep, having the conversations we waited to have until our daughter was in bed. And in the wee hours of this Poetry Friday, I got up with her, as I do every day.

In the hour when darkness still has the upper hand Against daylight, With only feeble cones of light from the streetlights To break the darkness I send you to school with a silent apology For the world you will inherit. © 2022, Elisabeth Norton, all rights reserved

Our wonderful Poetry Friday host today is Tricia at The Miss Rumphious Effect. She shares the results of her poetry sisters challenge and has links to all of today's Poetry Friday poets here.


note: Radioactive material was washed out of the sky when it rained. Children were told not to splash in puddles to avoid playing in concentrated contaminated water, and potentially getting it on their clothes.


  1. Elisabeth, I feel like apologizing too--to my children. This shouldn't be happening. What a beautiful way to document the whispers in the night. We know what they are about but someone else in a different time might think it about another invasion or disaster. Well done. The opposites you bring together in all these short poems are impressive. You make me want to give "opposites" a try. I'll be thinking of you today.

  2. I have, too, been feeling sad about the world my adult boys are facing as they are building their lives. "I send you to school with silent apology."

  3. Thanks for your heartfelt, powerful poems, Elisabeth. It's not enough for the world to endure a pandemic, now there's war. Scary, disturbing times. What price, power?

  4. Wow. Poignant and heartbreaking. I know that "silent apology" too well.

  5. Thank you for helping me process this event with your poetry. The Chernobyl poem portrays so well how people in many places are experiencing events like these in many ways.

  6. These poems are so beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing your family's perspectives and making it all more real for us with tender poems.

  7. I have chills all over reading this. I was actually kind of scared to click on your link but I knew that I must and am grateful I did. Thank you for sharing so beautifully, so generously...

  8. Oh - this is beautiful and painful. A silent apology, indeed. It does seem unbelievable -- how can this be happening when Spring is showing signs of returning...

  9. Your last poem especially touched my heart. I worry about what the world my grandchildren will inherit. I guess a lot of us have the same worry.

  10. Long ago, we thought it was over, neglected too much through the years, now facing it, as you implied, I fear the our children and grandchildren will have to face, and hopefully fix our beautiful world. It seems that when you wrote "darkness still has the upper hand", you will not only writing of light. Thanks, Elisabeth.

  11. There have been times when the decision not to have children hurt my heart, but more and more I am glad I don't have that added worry and the pain of that apology.

  12. These poems are so powerful. There are so many phrases that touched me, but I loved "feeble cones of light."

  13. Elisabeth, I spend a lot of time thinking of the world my young adult children HAVE inherited, and a lot of time trying to protect the world for the 4-5s I teach, but I have not had the experience you capture so poignantly of raising a young child at this moment: "only feeble cones of light/to break the darkness"...exquisite.

  14. Elisabeth, what powerful poems today--all three. And I love the "Darkness and Light" of your title. Yes, in the world of darkness, there is light, even if feeble. Your poems show the darkness, but the hope of light. Exquisite and tender, as others said. So real.

  15. Elisabeth, your poems touch my heart. There are so many whys in these past years, so many hardships. We think of our children, grandchildren and what we have done (or not) to protect them. Your words are strikingly rich in thought. Thank you for sharing unexpected intersections. We all wish for the light to reign over darkness.


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