They asked about the man
in black; why does he wear
the darkness so? I answered;
Not the black of dull disguise
but dapper coat drawn over clothes,
clothes over flesh, flesh over soul.
Not the black of a mourner’s hat
but a flat cap that holds the lid
upon a wise and lovely mind.
Not the black of a hollow sky
but a drape that cannot mask
the eye-flash bristling of stars.
Not the black of a dying day
but a bird-full night, rustling
with his creatures and their ways.
Not the black hull of a closed piano
but the dance of notes between
the solid lines of his libretto.
Not the black of writer’s block
but words still to be made,
and curious about their coming shape.
Not the black of absent colour
but the shadow at my shoulder as he
talks me through the birth of summer.
Not the black of who goes there?
but the unstruck match that flares
to spark the candlelight that goes before.
So that is why the man wears black;
not as gothic sadness, or a pseudonym
but so the light of others is not dimmed.
© Andy Jackson