The Properties of Light

i. dream light

I dream you drenched in river light
hazy     opalescent     matutinal
flickery moth wings in your strawberry
hair     then lightning     sudden cloud
burst     drenched again     cotton
sticking to skin     a reason for


ii. sunflowers in fall

Their round faces
hang heavy, Earthward
like yellow-haired angels
weary of Heaven’s light.

They are big flowers
made of little flowers
arranged in spirals
like little galaxies

The way all Creation
descends from the same
mitochondrial code –
some call it God.

Bees feed on the pollen
and are yellow and brown
same as the flowers
of which they are made

So that every living thing
is suffused with light
and becomes light,
blooming with radiant energy.

Beneath the small flowers
that already are falling,
having given their gold,
are neat rings of seeds

Awaiting winter, when birds
will peck them apart
to feed the hunger
of that lightless season.

This is the miracle,
how light feeds flowers
and bees and birds
who scatter the seeds

To grow anew next spring.


iii. light, its opposite

A beam of light
passing through light
casts no shadow,

Is the invisible thing
that makes visible
all other things.

Love, too, is invisible,
but always casts a shadow,
even on darkest nights.



About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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34 Responses to The Properties of Light

  1. shanyns says:

    This set is very good. Well crafted and very moving. Well done.

  2. claudia says:

    oh i DO love the strawberry hair….the brown and yellow of the bees just like the sunflowers…very cool… never thought about that…

  3. Three very different piceces still tied together with the light theme. Love how you describe those sunflowers bending in the autum… and then the last piece — and the very last words— wow Love casts a shadow…

  4. Marya says:

    I love that you put these three pieces into a cycle — so lyrical and meditative. Beautiful as always, Ray.

  5. Mary says:

    Ray, these are wonderful. I especially like the center one about the sunflowers. I happen to love sunflowers, and I really loved all the little details you included in your poem. Also, as Bjorn indicated, I like the way you used ‘light’ as a kind of connector between the three poems.

  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    All so beautiful and melancholy, but I especially like the last one.

  7. MarinaSofia says:

    I too am a fan of the last one, and I like the link through light and shadow.

  8. brian miller says:

    love that last bit…the love being like the light….very cool closure…
    and interesting progression in this…from a sensual to more tender kind of love
    even in the sowing of the seeds there is a dependent kind of love…

  9. ayala says:

    Great images and I love the ending 🙂 beautiful !

  10. Tony Maude says:

    I enjoyed your reflections on the interdependence of various life-forms in the middle poem, Ray – the way the birds, bees and sunflowers all need each other to thrive. In the last piece, I love the close – love casting a shadow seems a bit ominous, but it’s true.

    You also made me go away and look up a word – matutinal is new to me … smiles

  11. Your description on life paints a great picture on visual imagination that you have.

    I love this piece…

  12. I like the universal theme of light in each section ~ The play on the nature, the dream like light, and finally the ending verse, love is invisible ~

  13. grapeling says:

    really fine piece, Ray, especially that 3rd ~ M

  14. Beautiful, and I learned a new word: ‘matutinal’.

  15. Pamela says:

    Super fine writing, Ray. I love the sunflowers and have grown my own in the garden.


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