EPIC Poetry Group Poet’s Corner: If I could, Dark Night of the Soul, Where do they go?

Here’s the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group

If I could

I would run my fingers over your heart
Tentatively searching for the hurt
Which I fear you harbor

I would
If I could
Feel the rough texture of your bruises
The ones in your soul

Signs of struggle as you searched
For who you were
Not who you really wanted to be

How do I heal that brutal hurt
How can I cease the demise of innocence

For to me, that is what you will always be
Pure, perfect

But I would
And how I wish I could

Soothe those angry signs of pain
When you realized
What you were willing to lose
To be able to gain

Zeinab Masud Agha

~ ~ ~ ~

Dark Night of the Soul

(‘Dark night of the soul,’ a phrase coined by St John, referring to mystics aching for a union with the Divine.)

Seattle is endless, luscious beauty
But it can also be
A space of endless duty

At cut throat speed
the best operate
Amazonian success
Only this will satiate

This American dream
It paused for while
When Covid travelled
for miles and miles

Suddenly we found a solitary space
A sinister vacuum
An uneasy grace

It was time to touch and even listen to
Those quiet needs
Seeped deeply through

So very far inside our souls they were
These soft voices
Of His and Hers

Somewhere in search of an endless dream
We forgot to listen
To smothered screams

But this virus made us pause and sense
The pain of adolescence

Those days of youth when we felt our heart
And wondered when life would really start

Social isolation
It reminded us

Of a space of solace
Where we sensed
Where we heard

White as snow, black as coal
Today is St John’s ‘Dark night of the Soul’.

Zeinab Masud Agha

~ ~ ~ ~

Where do they go?

As I look above
At celestial bodies serene in social isolation
I realize that they are not like us
Clamoring for connection, for recognition

Is that where my father is now?
Where do the deeply loved go
When they leave us?
To a place ‘unhaunted’ by lingering notions of loneliness?

For on earth he was lonely
His children lived across the world
while he was still in this world

He would recite poetry to himself
during his darkening days
To see if he could still remember
Softly murmuring his favourite couplets

With his immense love of words and verse
He tried
to keep his mind and memory intact
He tried
to rise beyond his weariness

But as he grew weaker,
the verses he recited
grew shorter

His great will
no longer valiant enough
to overpower
the weakness of his body

The day by day decline of amazing grace
His back bent further,
his cane no longer enough

He needed human support
But the verses he recited
did not find a response

The loneliness still resounding
from stoic walls around him

Perhaps the pain of silence became

Perhaps that’s why the sky gleams
a glorious silver light

Perhaps I can find him within the stars
Still softly reciting some verse

No more fear of those lonely spaces
No more fear of forgetting his lines
or being forgotten himself

Zeinab Masud Agh

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zeinab Masud Agha is a trained Humanistic Counsellor and a Certified Tiny Habits Coach. She has a passion for prose and poetry and has had articles published in newspapers and magazines. Zeinab is currently working on her first book as well as a collection of poems. She loves the writers community in Edmonds and the greater Seattle area. Zeinab was one of the recipients of the non-fiction award at WOTS last year. Currently based in Seattle, Zeinab has straddled cultures and crossed continents, having lived in over 10 different countries. She’s now searching for a place to call home…


  1. These are beautifully written poems that touch on such deeply personal felt emotions and love.
    Thank you for sharing them.

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