A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

A young girl smiles into a camera backstage, wearing a silver necklace and denim jacket.

“Empire of Light, René Magritte,” by Ellery Burke

I look up I see the clouds so free and confident
with the endless sky behind them

I look down and see our lamppost the tree trunk
and the things around me that fade away in the darkness

I see the outline of the darkness hitting the light
There is no pattern for this line
It is like a music note going up and down then back again

I see this as a decision
You can choose to go up to see the light and be positive
then there’s down with worries clustering around
like people in subways in the movies

I wonder why this never changes
the darkness always on the bottom
the light on top

People don’t always realize the soft spot
between those two—the dark and light
the bad and good, the better then worse

Sometimes it’s okay not to be okay

Ellery Burke wrote this poem while a 5th grader at View Ridge Elementary, with WITS Writer-in-Residence Kathleen Flenniken. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Journalism Series event with Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn at Benaroya Hall on February 5th, 2020.

Posted in Writers in the Schools2019/20 SeasonJournalism Series