The Brilliant Darkness of a Hidden Silence

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds reptiles of the mind.


I changed mine, the way a light-bulb
decides for you when it is time,
an idea blowing in the mind,
a whistling as though through chimes, or
a child’s fingers, letting slip through
them what you never knew until
then that you needed to find, noise
about the size of a coin, this

epiphany when it arrives,
incontrovertible as glass
once it is no longer sand, a
blast annihilating with the
blurry fastidiousness of
furious pixels what, per square
inch, crushes one at once, like a
can or a last chance at love, as

hideously and subtly as
a pillow’s feathers tickle the
victim it smothers, this is the
itch, the sensation of tempting
the vast emptiness of the threats
of oblivion, the heavy
experience which entices
one to toe lightly that velvet

precipice denying us the
triumph of having one foot
in the past and the other in
tomorrow, the cusp is the cup
sprouting from the hand of a cloud,
a poisoned arrow, the very last
sorrow you encounter on the
road before knowing fully what


living is for, saying without
speaking, in the brilliant darkness
of a hidden silence, ‘Then shall
I know as I am known,’ a voice
glowing as if my conscience had
taken on the armour of god
& slain my tainted ego, laying
out on his own faulty altar,

as if it were an embalmer’s
table, that demon my wanting
to be one—a bronze idol—called
me out on such a conundrum,
offering up, without even
its cursory consolation
revisionist dignity or
the pauper’s one honour of an

empty coffin, a holocaust
of that part of me which very
nearly succeeded in leading
me to believe freely, but so
falsely, that self-knowledge is not
evil, though its wealth is when one
realizes Genesis is
really gnosis, a secret which

melts metal into living flesh
and, if its alchemy gets deep
into your head, can prove fatal,
killing off all those ideals whose
parables no one ever told
you were just myths, that what you think
really is, what the mind sees it
manifests as if visions live.

1William Blake, “A Memorable Fancy: Plates 17–20” of “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: The text of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: with an Introduction and Commentary by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, published at Oxford by Oxford University Press in association with The Trianon Press, Paris in 1992; page xxiv.