11:1: “Nightstorm”, by Robert K. Gardner

11:1: “Nightstorm”, by Robert K. Gardner

A low and distant rumble in the black
Dragon’s belly. Arrays of lightning-knives
With the hiss of the whip and furious crack
Puncture the lining bleeding into the lives
Of those below. Echoing in the eaves
As it drums the roof, the rain blankets the field,
Ponded now, floating the dead and dirty leaves.
Overhead, something passes, cloud-concealed,
To be purged or swallowed deeper down;
We can only see to the edge of our light
And each night the world is blinded. Our renown,
Our lives, loves, and all that we know burn a bright
Speck in the churning darkness undiminished.
Feed the light: Nothing here is ever finished.


Robert K. Gardner is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Aoife’s Kiss and Illumen. His poem “Creation Myth” was nominated for a 2010 Rhysling award. The Boston native enjoys wrestling his inspiration into traditional forms like the sonnet. He says:

The inspiration for this poem came from watching the sky churn during a nighttime storm, staring into that abyss and having it stare back into me to see a flicker of the exquisite terror it must have struck in our ancestors huddling in whatever shelter they’d found or cobbled together as the darkened abode of the gods exploded and fell down around them–and the admirable hubris they showed in reading their own significance anywhere into their physical surroundings.



One Response to “11:1: “Nightstorm”, by Robert K. Gardner”

  1. I was thankful for the accompanying explanation of the poem’s inspiration; it really added to my enjoyment of the poem. I wish more contemplation of animism had made its way into the poem. The disparity between swallowing or purging is a really neat idea and wish it had been more fully explored. I’m not sure if the poem as a whole really earned its final statement, either: Nothing here is ever finished. Storms are certainly finished; as the poet points out, light is finished each day. I’m just not sure how the statement fits in. Perhaps the reader needed to be given an image of the ancestors, then he or she would understand that we still experience storms, so they recur and are never “finished.” At any rate, I really appreciated the attempt to craft a poem in a rigorous form.

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