A Letter To Those Whom my Light Will Guide, In Honour Of Those Whose Light Has Guided Me

Pax Butchart ruminates on the nature of guidance, in a poem which delicately traverses the byway between vulnerability and assuredness, self-consciousness and confidence.


First, I will say close your eyes.

Lock them tight shut and look at the phosphenes

That whir and dance in the darkness.

Colour and noise are within you.

Next, I will remind you

You are not wrong.

You are not too much,

Or too little.

What you are, is complicated.

And I love you for that,

Because you are complicated,

Because you are raw, and soft, and broken.

Yes even you, and your scarred hands,

Your shaking heart’s bloodrush

And your endless glorious failures.

I will not stop my faith in you.

I will bathe you in goldglow like a searchlight,

Illuminating roiling oceans and the safe path

To shore.

Yes, you can grow beyond this. 

You will and you must.

You do not have to sit in this alone,

You can open a window

To let out the noxious brown fog

Of your anger. You can pull up a chair,

To relieve the pressure

On your suppliant knees.

Also, I will tell you to remember that 

Your light will guide others,

As mine guides you.

As others’ have guided me.

Do not discount the possibility

That the very people whose light brightens your path,

Might be those for whom you gleam

As a wayfinder.

It is not always a hierarchy or a chronology.

Sometimes it is two lamps burning

Across a dim and silent street,

And where the lights cross,

There is home. So grasp my hand,

The candle flames of my fingers,

Let the sun blaze out from your palm.

There is light in your voice and your soul

And your hope, even when you cannot see it.

You are only blinded by its brightness.

Honour your light, as you honour mine.

For where there is light, the darkness cannot come in,

Though it beats and howls at the window.

And the hollow pools inside you

Where the dark has made a home,

Will not vanish with time. They are part of you,

A backdrop, a contrast to make the light

Burn more wild and true.

I name you lux aeterna, in defiance of our transience.

I call myself leoht ecelic, laughing at my end.

Beacons in the night, reaching for one another,

Until we are absorbed into the greater daylight

That comes, as rest, on the wings of the morning-birds,

In the song of the cold dawn rain.

Artwork by Rachel Jung.

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