Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Poem to be Read in the Dark

(in memoriam S.B.B.)

That is how it is.

but for the clouds
and my breath.

for the footfalls.

for the angels of darkness.

Bright at last –
at the end.

23 July 1989

This poem was assembled from bits and bobs from Beckett’s writings: ‘Enough’, a short story; How It Is, a novella; Stirrings Still, his final prose piece; ...but the clouds..., a television play; Breath, dramaticule; Waiting for Godot, play; Footfalls, play; “Bright at last”, the first three words of Fizzle 7, ‘Still’; The End, novella.

I’m not sure about the angels of darkness though. He mentions “grey angels” in Dream of Fair to Middling Women but the only reference to “angels of darkness” I can find is the title of a book by Colin Duckworth, Angels of Darkness: Dramatic Effect in Samuel Beckett with special reference to Eugène Ionesco but Google Books won’t let me look inside to see where he’s quoting from and Google itself hasn’t been much help either.


Kass said...

Perhaps angels of darkness are like the enlightenment of 'twilight's last gleaming' (ala The More Things Change)...

Jim Murdoch said...

Beckett had, Kass, by his own admission “a strong weakness for oxymoron.” I have too. I think the first ones I ever came across were in Romeo and Juliet:

    O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
    Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
    Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
    Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

They crop up rarely in my poetry because of the kind of poetry I write but the sentiment is often there. As for what “angels of darkness” are well, this one’s wide open to interpretation.

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