Poetry picture (the folded black)


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Ceramic picture in hand made frame (painted and waxed)

Original poetry by Chris Goan

18cm square.

This piece emerged from a poem exploring the nature of unknowing. Chris had been reading some words written by St Gregory of Nyssa some time in the 4th C BCE, about ‘Divine Darkness’. He was convinced that an encounter with the divine was always to go further into mystery.

The first stage in our quest to encounter God is Moses’ vision of God as the light of the burning bush; illuminating the darkness of our sin and ignorance. The second stage involves a journey from light into partial darkness where Moses encounters God as the ‘cloud’; the intermingling of light and darkness, revealing the distance between the Creator and the created realm. The third and final stage entails Moses entering the darkness of Sinai where God is; and our realization upon encountering and even being united with God that He is utterly incomprehensible in his essence. 

Our own faith journey finds resonance in this, in that we have come to accept that all ideas about the nature of the divine will be partial. There will be darkness. But that darkness will not be a dark empty space- rather it invites us in, looking for more.

The whole poem is here;




Sometimes darkness lies with open arms

Casting no shadows;

No zones of jagged uncertainty

The folded black is bosom-soft

An iris around the eye

Could it be that dark is not opposed by light

But is the place where light is falling?

For the night is not defeated by starlight-

It is anointed.

At the edge of this suburban half light

Beyond the reach of neon

Darkness is waiting

Like pregnancy

For light to be born


Chris Goan