The Hymn of the Abyss
By Bryant Burroughs
The abyss looms near,
its rim more sensed than seen,
yet there, pulling and beckoning,
so near now that I can hear
its hymn of peace and fear.
Am I moving toward it
or is it moving toward me?
All of us, every one, will disappear
over its edge, bringing an end to all sorrows
and songs and sighs, a Great Reckoning.
A few friends have already vanished.
My turn will come, perhaps tomorrow
or next year or next decade,
likely sooner than I wish, and afraid.
The abyss takes all over its rim.
Into what? Do we fall ten thousand years
without time, without light,
into nothingness? Or perhaps it steers
us into Everything, and we’ll laugh
to become stars and rain and birds in flight.
When I hope,
I hope that the Abyss is Dante’s wall of flame that burns us clean.
Or Lewis’ pleasant land in which Ghosts become free.
Or Tolkien’s kind treatment in which Niggle finds his Tree.
Or Mary Oliver’s scalding light scrubbing and scouring us.
And I hope that Light will embrace Darkness, envelop it, and make it good,
so that we and Darkness find our being in Light.
And all will be well.
Bryant Burroughs writes stories and poems as reminders of those things he hopes are real and true. He and his wife, Ruth, live in Upstate South Carolina with their three cats.