The Lingering Night


In the lingering night
I hear You. In my heart, in the deepness
of my spirit, Your whispers, calm the tempests
that blow worldly fears and anxieties upon me.
And I know I am not alone.
Your image appears, tearing through dark shades
of unbelief, shining soft lights of faith and truth
into the damp, lifeless caverns of my soul.

I feel a quiver, a slight tremble of inspiration,
and a part of me feels a stirring of something real—
a thing unseen, once known, and now remembered.
It is You. Coming through the shadows towards me,
a candle in the darkness of this tomb of lethargy.
Silent. Towards me. Bringing light, not with judgment,
but with love and understanding. For you know
where it is I have been, and the crosses I have borne.

Here in the lingering night,
I whisper to You, to my image of You, from this
empty room where I have settled for a while, weary
of the journey, weakened, if for only a time, from
so many days and nights out on the highways of time—
on the backroads, of life, my life, this life. This piece
of the world where I have risen and fallen a thousand
times and in a thousand ways.

Candles begin to flicker out. Small tongues of dying light.
I close my eyes and stutter a prayer, mutter some
litany to the saints, trying to light a fire down in my soul.
And when I almost surrender to the shadows of doubt,
I hear You. In my heart, hear You whisper from a place
beyond shadows, a place of light, and I know You are near—
close to me, bringing real Light, that cannot flicker and
burn out, real fire, that will burn all of my days—
and beyond, across the highways of eternity.

And I know I am not alone, here in the lingering night.


© Richard Keith Carlton


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