Russell Ragsdale

mansion of dark

the problem with dark is
it is night and snow falls
every crystal cutting cleanly
desires growing vestigial
spectators by the fire

even in the day
every bench was occupied
by our cold ghosts
nobody sat there
fear is still too great
weight overwhelms
weight of nothing sits on us
it is today’s burden
a pocketful of death
which should scare us but doesn’t
as nothing doesn’t replace nothing
it merely continues it

we are continuations of ourselves
not great like stones
we long to live in day
but just turn lights on

this is our dark mansion
we do not know our purpose
we think but invariably we are wrong
we wander from room to room
we think we know why
but we can’t find our way back
once we’ve left

youth was a suite of exquisite tolerances
for the horror of ourselves and everything else
yet who would not return to
rooms you have already left
if only to light that candle again
if only to be brighter and better
in that place of wasted possibility

we just light each candle
it burns out and we relinquish
each room we loose
each darkness that burdens our souls
each darkness that drives us on
until we wonder if fatigue
will bring us to the lightless part
of the mansion where
we’ll wander forever
and see no more

we have only been
to the same rooms
but I am aware you have been
to bright rooms I have never seen
that your wide eyes
have looked on wonders

tired and old I stumble further
hoping that the next room
will light up brightly
will bring me closer
to that room I ran away from
over and over so many years ago
and now can’t find the door to

russell ragsdale

Russell Ragsdale lived in the Republic of Kazakhstan from 1992-2015.  Because he lived in the former lands of Russia so long, you will find his books on Amazon listed among the top 100 books of Russian poetry. He speaks Russian and English and stumbles about in French and Spanish. He is a contemporary poet and has been writing since the 1960’s when he attended Whittier High and then the University of Arizona. He taught English at KIMEP University for seven years and can’t seem to figure out he has retired. Before that he was an executive chef and a retail meat cutter. Now he often wanders the streets up in Montmartre where he is looking for an apartment (he considers himself a part-time Parisian). In his strange life he has acted, sung, written for a newspaper, been part of a TV show and taught.  Still he is pretty much just an ordinary working guy that has been afflicted with wanderlust and a love for words!  He currently has two books published: Book of Aliases and Fireflies and Dragon Scales. He may be contacted through his website,