Darkness, Darkness

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Darkness Darkness (A4 ink and coloured pencil 2016)

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow
Take my head and let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, darkness, be my blanket
Cover me with the endless night
Take away, take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now

A song written by Jesse Colin Young for the Youngbloods and recorded by numerous others. The illustration was inspired by Chris Ware’s comic strip diaries,  as seen in Danny Gregory’s intriguing book An Illustrated Life.

There seems to be a great deal of darkness in the world at the moment. We mustn’t let it defeat us.

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25 thoughts on “Darkness, Darkness

  1. Psalm 88 in the NASB translation is rendered:

    “O Lord, the God of my salvation,
    I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
    2 Let my prayer come before You;
    Incline Your ear to my cry!
    3 For my soul has [c]had enough troubles,
    And my life has drawn near to [d]Sheol.
    4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit;
    I have become like a man without strength,
    5 [e]Forsaken among the dead,
    Like the slain who lie in the grave,
    Whom You remember no more,
    And they are cut off from Your hand.
    6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
    In dark places, in the depths.
    7 Your wrath has rested upon me,
    And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. [f]Selah.
    8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me;
    You have made me an [g]object of loathing to them;
    I am shut up and cannot go out.
    9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction;
    I have called upon You every day, O Lord;
    I have spread out my [h]hands to You.
    10 Will You perform wonders for the dead?
    Will the [i]departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah.
    11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,
    Your faithfulness in [j]Abaddon?
    12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?
    And Your [k]righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
    13 But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help,
    And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
    14 O Lord, why do You reject my soul?
    Why do You hide Your face from me?
    15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on;
    I suffer Your terrors; I am [l]overcome.
    16 Your burning anger has passed over me;
    Your terrors have [m]destroyed me.
    17 They have surrounded me like water all day long;
    They have encompassed me altogether.
    18 You have removed lover and friend far from me;
    My acquaintances are in darkness.”

    Other translations, less faithful than the NASB, render the last line, “…darkness is my closest friend.” Which I think is more apropos.

    In any event, I hated this psalm above all biblical text until I realized that the psalmist cried out to God, acknowledging that there was a God, and this plea gave me profound comfort. It’s now my favorite psalm. It’s like sitting in an AA meeting.

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  2. What a spot on illustration Michael, beautifully done, it sums up how I feel sometimes perfectly. I don’t think you can live in this world and not feel the presence of the dark cloud, although it does make also make me appreciate the sunshine more!

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  3. We won’t let it defeat us because we are all supporting each other, even if sometimes we may seem invisible. Every time any one of us does just one tiny thing to bring a bit of light to the darkness we are lighting up a whole chain of lights. Badly expressed but at the moment I seem to be finding images (and drawings) come easier than words. As seemingly do you, with this very expressive post! Take heart. Best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent cartoon! I love the quality of your lines and shading. And the way you have conceptualized darkness is so apt – humorous but still dark. I thought it was interesting that you combined it with the song lyrics. I think if you hadn’t, I would have interpreted the last image differently. With the lyrics, I got the sense that the enveloping darkness was a defeat but also a period of rest… and that the next day would be another struggle with dark clouds. But, hopefully, there is also a possibility of better weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very interesting, Myriam. I intended that the figure was eventually overcome by darkness but that it was also – somehow – welcome. The song – I thought – reflected that as the darkness takes away the ‘pain of knowing’. I think my own addition to the text might have blurred the issue, where I implied that the ‘darkness’ was completely unwelcome! Very interesting – many thanks for making me think again about my own work!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good point. I was definitely influenced by your added text and also by the comments people wrote before me. I am occasionally over-troubled by gloominess and I automatically connected that with your drawing. I liked that I could look at “such a big problem” as just a series of 8 drawings. For me, personally, after much reflection, the last panel represented a different darkness. The sense of relief is not from the “bad darkness” winning but from the darkness of oblivion or rest or sleep or not thinking. It is like turning off the lights so that there is no distinction between what our thinking and sensing mind sees as light and dark. There is just nothing.
        I hope you don’t mind my writing so much. It seems your cartoon stirred me. Thank you.

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