The Night Side of the Earth

Elizabeth wrote this poem and following commentary the month of her transition — December 2003. Her English teacher, Mr. Michael Reist and her friend Jessica read the poem at her funeral. Mr. Reist found this poem in his inbox after the Christmas break as Elizabeth had handed in this literary assignment for class before the Christmas holiday. It was a lovely surprise when he presented me with this poem. I feel she is wise beyond her years.

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The Night Side of the Earth
A poem

by Elizabeth Scavetta
Age 17

Pale dawn stretches wearily
Piercing the eastern dark
Sighing

The Light: ‘Earth child, turn your cheek
Of hope there’s still a spark.’

The cold dampness of sorrow and sin
Can now be melted off your skin
Look to the light, don’t turn away
Come out of the night where the shadows lay.

A morning sun can cure it all
And lift the weighty gloom
From shoulders weak, whose worn out heart
Drips in death and doom.’

A Soul: ‘The liquid sun can burn the blue,
But struggles to melt the clouds;
They hover still over branch and oak,
Their smudged shadows, lingering smoke.

And undefeated, float throughout
Like ashes; lonesome black
They settle like dust on the heart and soul
Pass through the skin and back.

All that exists is shadow now
Under the houses
Under the trees
Under faces and their words
Under the heavy breeze

Thousands of shadows drift along
In the mind and spirit of all
They were born of a people spurred by spite,
These sightless spirits of the night

They cover the land far and wide
Billowing through the sky
A ruthless smog concealing truth,
And every bitter lie

Distorted, uncertain
Where do we go?
This road caves in at the fork
Where has the world gone that we know?
I can’t see New York.’

Harsh winds
They cut like steel
Rip through the earth
Today

Are we those people
Clinging to dust
Of a moral fiber’s decay?

For we are not alone in this
No, the world cries out with us!
Is it our duty?
Is it our cult?
Is it our worry?
Is it our fault?

The Light: Child, these questions
Thick and deep
Lay above the murky breach

Climb out of your hole
Face up to the fear
But not in nightmared sleep!

A Soul: Dare you!
Suggest it be
A trifling triviality!
Look at this place!
See the woe!
‘Take up your quarrel with the foe!’

The Light: Solutions
They cannot come about
In the rage against what’s real
It’s demanding
Yet you’re standing
With your fists set tough as steel

But the darkness still envelops you
You’re vengeful
Taste your fear!

Accept the light
And you’ll win the fight
Evil won’t come near!

Give over sorrows
Give over your pain
Relinquish your deathly grip

Drink for deliverance
The cup of life
Gives peace – it’s yours to sip!

Face the light
Embrace the hope
Anticipate rebirth

For it just cannot come about
On the night side of the earth.

Commentary for ‘The Night Side of the Earth.’

by Elizabeth Scavetta

I was thinking one day about the earth, and the state of the people that cover every area on it. I was thinking about our lives in North America compared to the quality of life of all the poor nations around the world. I was saddened by the way our world has been changing, and how everyone is being negatively affected. It seems like money is the sole importance in this world, and the suffering many people experience daily is of no significance at all. The poem may seem like a gloomy portrayal of the atrocities of this world, but there is a message of hope within. One can find peace in him/herself, and then with an enlightened perspective and a fresh hope, he/she can be of help to others around the world and strive to make our world a better place – one step at a time.

There are two voices in this poem. There is the Light, which is the hope, the good, the God if you will. The Light speaks to a Soul and tells the Soul to turn to the light and give his/her sorrow and anxiety over to it, reclaiming peace upon him/herself. The Soul is deeply disturbed by the sin and misery that cover the earth. He/she is so bothered by the appalling fates of society that it takes over his/her life and leaves no room for any other thought. The sole focus of the Soul is on the injustice of the world, and he/she while protesting these evils, does not know what to do to stop them.
The Soul represents the people in this world that see our society in the most bare, and realistic way: As a desperate cry for salvation. The poem describes the cruelty of the world in a way that many people may see it. They are intensely agitated with what the world has become and get bogged down with the depressing facts of life.

The Light does not object to these feelings of anguish and regret, but expresses that people cannot help make the earth a better place when they are down this black hole. They must come out of the shadows (the violence, poverty, disease, injustice, capitalism, etc.) of our society and allow hope to reenter their lives. No good can be done when one is encircled in evil thoughts; they must be willing to allow the chance for peace. This is what is meant by being on the ‘night side of the earth.’ There is no growth, no development when one is surrounded in darkness. A flower cannot grow, cannot blossom, without the light, and in a way, neither can we. By embracing the light, or God, people can find an inner peace within themselves, and see a purpose and a hope for them that were not visible before. They can acquire an inner peace, and can subsequently effectively give from that place. This inner peace, I believe, is a miracle of spirituality. When one is grounded in such a powerful source of love, hope, and comfort, it becomes possible to see the light and the good that exists and to help cultivate the good in the earth.

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