My father taught me to see in the dark
on winter nights, on country roads.
We walked beyond the headlights and the streetlights
to where the fields slept under an empty sky.
He’d stop, and I would stand with stinging cheeks.
“There, you see?” he’d say.
I looked with my city eyes, and saw nothing.
“There.” He’d point.
I’d follow his finger and stare until shadow
upon shadow took shape and pattern.
My eyes would follow a snap, a rustle,
an icy crunch—I’d spy blackness
moving against mere dark.
“There,” he’d say again, and finally,
I would see.
Streak of deer, drumming woodcock,
swiftly sliding fox.
“You see?” he’d say, and I did.
I saw that the sleeping fields were full of life.
I learned that night is never black, never still.
I learned that to see, you must know how to look.
My father taught me to see in the dark.
though your poem reveals a dad of few words, he taught you a lot
Delicious poem, full of wonderful language, insight, and a lesson that applies to so many things.
I love “stinging cheeks” and I can see your breath in the cold air. Such a sweet poem.
This is so nice. Love that dad taught you to see in the dark.
I love the progression of the “There”s. Lovely.
Beautiful poem. I had the opposite of this as a father but I think in his own way my father taught me to see in the dark too. (By providing a negative example.) I like it that you started and ended with the same line.
My dad taught me this too. Really lovely poem.
Your dad was wise.
Wonderful tender tribute to your father. So satisfying to have the beginning line repeat at the end. Beautiful.
Thank you all. This poem is a bit of a cheat because I wrote it years ago. When I first read it to my dad, he floored me by saying he wanted me to read it at his funeral. He died of Covid at the end of 2020, and when we were finally able to have a memorial service for him last year, I did read this poem.