Lucubrating on Rooks


(No…  I’m not talking about anything slippery) 

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

by Sylvia Plath

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.   
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident


To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,   
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.


Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain:   
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent


Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then—
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent


By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk   
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,   
Yet politic; ignorant


Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook   
Ordering its black feathers can so shine   
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant


A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,   
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content


Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait’s begun again,   
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

I stumbled onto this poem this week, and I kind of became obsessed with it.  I’ve read it each and every night essentially as a prayer:  a prayer to see.  A prayer that God would help me to look for the plain, black rooks in my life suddenly shining incandescent.  For the miracles suddenly illuminated in the plain, barren landscape of life.  Truly there are many each and every day.  I don’t want to miss them.

I’ve found hope in these words…  The idea of trekking stubbornly through this season of fatigue to patch together a content of sorts….  My soul hears those words and says, “Yes!  Yes!!!  I want that.  I need that.”

And so it is advent.  And I am waiting.  I am waiting for light to pierce the darkness, and though nothing is extraordinarily bad this year, that darkness, at times, feels so thick.  I have so much to bring me joy, but I am continually pushing through a haze of fatigue, of numbness, or lethargy, listlessness, yes of depression. 

Surely though there is a light in this darkness too, self-imposed though it may be (is it?).  Surely Christmas is dawning again in our lives, as it has in even the darkest of years.  I found the light the year Mom was diagnosed as all of life stood in limbo waiting…  full of anxiety and fear as my ‘normal life’ suddenly shattered.  My ridiculous, false sense of security and belief that ‘things only happen to other people’ ripped out from under me.  There was light even then–in my unborn child full of hope and promise.  In my husband’s hand still there to hold.  In my faith and stubborn belief that God IS good.  I found the light the year after Mom died, sitting in a lonely hotel room in Kansas knowing that another beloved family member was about to leave this life, my husband on the other side of the world in Iraq feeling so helpless as he wanted to be with his Grandpa to say goodbye.  I found it there in family members and baby giggles and children playing and the kinship of shared circumstances.  In fuzzy phone connections where “I’m here’s,” and “I love you’s” were said.  It was a slim shaft in the blackness at times, but I found the light.

And I am finding the light this year. 

If I look for the rooks….  If I look for the flashes of brightness born out of the mundane.  If I allow the miracles all around me to pierce the haze my heart is in, I will continue to find the light. 

And the light will be born again in me.  May it be continually born again in me.

Melody asked us to “Lucubrate” this week …..  To ponder in the evenings, by the light of a candle (follow link for further information).  This poem fell into my lap, and these are the thoughts that it brought in my ‘nocturnal study and meditation.’ 

I am holding tight to the promise and hope that I find in ordinary little rooks.



12 thoughts on “Lucubrating on Rooks

  1. Wow what a great way to look at things! I am going to try and slow down to also look for the “black rooks in my life suddenly shining”. Thanks so much for stopping by my page and for the nice comment! 🙂

  2. The poem is amazing. No wonder you are drawn to it. I hope you find that light. It is always there we only need to look close enough and I am glad to know you are searching.

  3. Sylvia Plath is wonderful, in her own way, which you kind of have to read about her to understand. I have a book of her poetry and Anne Sexton. You may like her too. It’s such a wonderful poem.

    Thank you for your reflections. I’m going to have to find that book on my shelf tonight.

  4. I love Sylvia Plath : ) A great poem too and I love how you applied it to the season and Advent. I hope that this Christmas just fills your heart with warmth and that the flashes of light become more frequent!

  5. Your words strike a cord deep within my heart. Val, I promise it will get better. The glimmer of light will push through the darkness and illuminate your world again. It takes time. You’re strong enough to endure.

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