Darkness and Light

 

Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.

Madeline L’Engle

We’re two weeks into Britain’s lockdown and my children’s home schooling experiment. This week, the 9-year old’s maths work involved measuring just about every piece of furniture in her bedroom, a task that was probably intended as a fun activity, but which turned into an almost obsessive project of measuring, calculating and scaling. At least it offered a momentary respite from my other obsession: the news.

Yes, I fear I am slowly going mad. I’ve reached a point where no amount of humorous videos on Twitter and Facebook help keep my spirits up. Instead, I’ve taken to watching disaster films, starting with the two obvious ones; Outbreak and Contagion.

Under normal circumstances, I am a self-confessed bookworm and earlier in the week I started reading a critically acclaimed family saga that had all the requisite ingredients to hold the reader’s attention, but half-way through I gave up. I need something darker.

Having never read a single Stephen King book I am thinking that his 1978 novel, The Stand, might be an appropriate introduction to his writings; it’s a 900 page-long fantasy novel about a viral pandemic that wreaks havoc on the world.

As for my choice of music these days, it’s got to be Leonard Cohen’s album You Want It Darker, released weeks before his death in 2016. The title song is nothing short of a lyrical and literary masterpiece and listening to an 82-year old Cohen talk-singing it is balm for the soul:

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game

If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame

If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame

You want it darker

We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name

Vilified, crucified, in the human frame

A million candles burning for the help that never came

You want it darker

Hineni, hineni

I’m ready, my lord

There’s a lover in the story

But the story’s still the same

There’s a lullaby for suffering

And a paradox to blame

But it’s written in the scriptures

And it’s not some idle claim

You want it darker

We kill the flame

They’re lining up the prisoners

And the guards are taking aim

I struggled with some demons

They were middle class and tame

I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim

You want it darker

Hineni, hineni

I’m ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name

Vilified, crucified, in the human frame

A million candles burning for the love that never came

You want it darker

We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game

If you are the healer, I’m broken and lame

If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame

You want it darker

Hineni, hineni

Hineni, hineni

I’m ready, my lord

Hineni

Hineni, hineni

Hineni

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s