Monday, 24 March 2008

Life in Shadows

One thing that fascinates me about Todos Santos is the way that shadows here take on a life of their own. It is, no doubt, an artifact of the intensity of the sun, and the clarity of the air, but it is as if the darker side of everything is made animate and evident. In Comox, the often present moisture gives an entirely different perspective.

Todos Santos lies on the Tropic of Cancer, so as the summer solstice approaches, the size of your shadow diminishes until, on the fateful day, at the right time, the sun lies directly overhead and your dark projection is banished – temporarily!


As an immutable sun rises
Over the elemental landscape
Life in Todos Santos bifurcates
Into radiant light and stygian darkness
Each object or animal
Accompanied by a darker self
Related, but distinctly separate
Entities unto themselves
In the vacuum of transparent air
That fills the town

As pelicans glide slowly above the sand
Angelic in direct and reflected light
Their flightless partners
Hold dark dominion over the beach
Razor cut outlines pacing their illuminated mates
But never meeting
While inland
Sharp projections of telephone wires
Lie in wait on dusty roads
To trip unwary travelers

But soon, very soon
Before the summer solstice
Kills my personal dark companion
I must return
To the land of subtlety
Where strong shadows are replaced
By a watery reflection
So easily spooked by a breath of wind.

1 comment:

Ian Lidster said...

A nice bit of versification that really captures the place, and the tropics in general, very nicely.