Morning Has Broken Me

I open my eyes and am greeted by a speckled
greyness. It is the light of early dawn or perhaps
even early twilight, when your eyes seem to act like
television screens turned on but, receiving no signal.
When there’s not enough light to really make
anything out, but your retinas want to process
something. When there are dots of blue and purple
and red, flickering through your corneas amongst
the blackness, asking to be made sense of, for a
pattern or an image to come forth and materialise.

The constellation refuses to disappear. It sways in
front of me, a mass of illogical information,
burrowing down the optic nerve. I shut my eyes
again for visual respite, and with caution, creating a
gradual opening. My eyelids are black borders in the
world, and I’m watching in widescreen. I see the
thin sliver of grey between the black, a strip of dots
and swirls. With fascination, I practise opening my
eyes as little as I can, seeing the lids rising up and
down to meet each other.

Now I feel in complete control of my eyes. Not the
visual aspect of them, but just the shutting, the
closing, and the reopening of them. My brain is
completely honed into this repetitive function, and I
feel I could choose any distance between my lids,
and achieve this with my eyes. It’s mesmerising,
feeling my muscles flex and contort to this
movement, the mere squint that is never thought
about before, the automatic reflex in brightness. It
takes darkness to show my appreciation for this.

I’m lost in this incident, but nothing is being given
to any verbalisation of my new routine. Silence is
the natural companion of darkness. Any sound now
would surely disturb my concentration. It would
force my attention elsewhere, rippling the flow of
thought required. So I will lie here and wallow in
my solitary motions, until I have tired of mastering
this skill.

COLIN DARDIS is a poet, editor and arts facilitator from Northern Ireland. His debut collection, the x of y, was published in 2018 from Eyewear Publishing. Colin also has a new chapbook, The Dogs of Humanity, which will be released in August 2019 from Fly on the Wall Poetry. He was recently shortlisted in the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award, and Dermot Healy International Poetry Competition. He has also been longlisted for the Best Reviewer of Literature, Saboteur Awards 2018. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA.