Dark Shimmering Way

Steady rain falls on this dark shimmering way,
It’s nearly eleven on familiar strip.

A sunny day yielded evening overflow,
Empty effulgence turned emptying fulness.
But a sudden soaking won’t dampen my eyes,
Because rainy drives offer glimmering sights.

Color multiplies on glassy weathered roads,
As traffic lights reflect in a glossy sheen.
Red commands, yellow cautions, and green consents,
Spill iridescent paint over flat black base.

Store signs also drip their pallet in the mix,
High lights that highlight the curb sides and sidewalks.
Places of import with the bright sun above,
Trivial to travelers at this late hour.

Glowing house windows witness to waiting warmth,
Each frame preaching safety from threatening storms,
That dark dreariness becomes dim memory,
When one enters in his abiding abode.

Bursting beams appear intermittently, paired,
Shining stars, leading travelers through the darkness.
Two wary headlamps guiding two weary eyes,
Like one lamp for the feet and one light the path.

Now a single beam approaches, its twin out.
As it nears, I imagine a tunnel light.
I enjoy the passage since I’m calm and warm.
Then it passes to the left, and my trance breaks.

Silver streams mingle on my windows and shield,
A tribute to the tributaries of life.
For all streams flow to that final river,
Where crossing and trusting must mingle as well.

Golden halos envelop every streetlight,
Hovering above and blessing my progress.
Heavenly mist suggests Heaven’s mystery,
That guardians grace the slippery journey.

Lightning occasionally flickers the scene,
Boltless flashes suddenly flooding the skies.
The brief silent softness of electric blue,
A glimpse of the gleam of that glorious day.

See, this hour won’t dampen my tired eyes,
My mind is at ease in my body’s near rest.
A nighttime shower merely aids reflection;
The light manifests its presence in the pour.

Steady rain falls on this dark shimmering way,
It’s after eleven, and I’m almost home.

Notes:

I have always enjoyed the dark shimmering sights of an evening drive in the rain, especially when driving home. In contrast to a drive to work, the drive home is relaxed. Instead of worrying about being on time or the day’s events, it is a time of solitude and reflection. I have found that the later the hour, the more relaxing the drive but also the more I desire to be home.

This poem compares such a late night drive with being in the last stretch of life. The central idea is that the dim slipperiness of the hour actually gives unique opportunity for light to manifest itself. Likewise, I believe the difficulties of life’s eleventh hour can provide fresh ways to behold the Savior.

Of course, without any light, a late rainy drive would be blind and fearful. So this poem is only for those who know the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. If that is not true of you, I pray that you will see him before that difficult hour arrives.

With regard to the structure, each line has eleven syllables to match the eleventh hour. The poem has an introduction and a conclusion that are both six lines long. The other sections basically stand alone. Each one uses something from the driver’s view as a reminder of spiritual things. I chose to begin with “It’s nearly eleven” but end with “It’s after eleven” so that even in the reading of this poem the reader is faced with the passage of time.

With regard to devices, especially look for allusion, metaphor, alliteration, double-meaning, and wordplay. For example, consider how the lines, “Empty effulgence turned emptying fulness,” and, “A glimpse of the gleam of that glorious day,” demonstrate these devices.