Jane Dards

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Jane Dards
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The other point of view

by Jane Dards

The light is slowly fading and the day is done.
You should not fear the shadows or the cowl of night,
for I am here beside you and your race is run.

All sorrow is behind you and your safety’s won.
Now take your rest at last and do not fret or fight.
The light is slowly fading and the day is done.

So cease your headlong rush to beat the starting gun,
to flee the foe that stalks behind you out of sight,
for I am here beside you and your race is run.

You’ve struggled all the way and you have just begun
to wonder if the future could be quite so bright.
The light is slowly fading and the day is done.

You should have slowed your pace, and paused, and had some fun.
No need to waste your time when time was getting tight,
for I am here beside you and your race is run.

You ran so fast I thought you would outstrip the sun.
But all must come to me at last, and time is right.
The light is slowly fading, and the day is done
for I am here beside you and YOUR RACE IS RUN.

 

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"The other point of view" was first published in Orbis #150, Winter/Spring 2010

Author's comments about the poem:

This poem is a villanelle. It presents the "other point of view" to that expressed in Dylan Thomas' famous villanelle, Do not go gentle into that good night. From the receiving end, as you might say.

I felt that the repetitive form needed a subject that was suited to persuasive insistence. And most of all I wanted the two refrain lines, that appear separately throughout the poem, to mean something rather different when they were placed together at the end.

So that, at the start of the poem, it feels that the words are spoken by a comforter. But, as the poem progresses, the tone slowly changes, until in the last stanza the identity of the speaker becomes clear. (At any rate, I'd like to think that it becomes clear, but lots of people seem to miss the point - hence this explanation.) In this version, the last few words are in capital letters. The Editor of Orbis didn't use them in the printed version, as she felt that it was a bit over the top. But I've used them here as a bit of an extra hint - at least for Terry Pratchett fans.

When you've got to the end and worked it out, you should read it again from the beginning with your new knowledge. A bit like a whodunnit, perhaps.

 

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