Writs of Dawn

~ a short story

last writs 1
~ art by Romildo Santos

The words flowed out once more. A story of love and redemption and light. Not the first, and especially not from him.

He simply wrote. Most of the time he did not even think about what it was he did. He writes so that he doesn’t have to any longer.

The boy pens poetry so that the sun rises each morning.

Orange glow bleeding the horizon, the weight of his burden beckons. Despite this, the glow of the light upon his homestead makes him breathe deeply, easily, feeling more alive.

A man feels thankful for a new day; a man can’t help but feel the terrible responsibility of existence lessened by dawn’s prominence.

He knew his work was good. One way or another, it was. A part of him wondered if it made a difference, the quality. Or if the key was simply in the existence. Perhaps the truth of the transformation found in the process of the writing, the audacity in the act of creation. The characteristics of the specific piece were irrelevant, the primal significance was that a thing was put to page.

His hands were tools. He tried not to take them for granted. Their motion itself was the principal key. As opposed to the originality, or the working of his mind to generate such true artistic presence each time, his hands’ sacred work promised tomorrow.

Who knew?

Many calluses and headaches later, on this subject, it did pain him to think that perhaps it did not matter. He needed it to matter. Somehow, after all these years, he still felt a singular pride in his role. The meaningfulness of his work was true, to him. Why’d he wish for it to be so for any other?

Because he was selfish; because he was human.

And of love, not a word unsaid;
For to love, no feeling remained unspent.

He looked down upon the parchment and the ink freshly forming these letterings.

The closing sentence held certain significance. It was as if the artistry of it could save the whole of the work. The whole of the world. If the finale was good, then what came before it was saved, if not completely forgotten. The reader could walk away from the poetry with a sense of clarity, a completed conveyance. The last stanza perhaps was the only one that mattered.

Truly, how many times would he even read this one again? No one else had ever read any of the others. This never seemed to bother him in spite of his incessant ponderings of what others would think if they had. Thinking more now, he had never read any of them more than once. Some he never even officially read, the writing itself being the only reading. This seemed to prove the theory that it did not matter how well written, how meaningful, how filled with beauty the lines were. First drafts all, no revisions. The mere existence of the poem was enough. Enough to keep everything going.

Why did this upset him so? The closing of the simple loop of his creation was enough to satisfy the cosmos, why wasn’t it enough to satisfy him?

And well, no, he was wrong before. He had read one of them twice, no three times. No, in fact, one of the poems he read every night and every morning. It was part of his ritual. The only part, truly. It was stupid of him to forget this fact. Unconscious. It was second nature now. “Dawn Depending.” His opus.

He stood up from his table, placing his pen down as he did so. He stretched his muscles and went out into the field. He needed to touch the warmth of the earth with the soles of his feet. This kind of act made him feel like he was more than he was. The rising heat from the burning star he had breathed life into once again this morning made him think he was a part of a grand design. He ran his hand across the tips of the long grass growing here. He grinned into the glory and breathed out for a spell.


The storm raged outside. There had never been one this bad, not out here. The lightning blinded his mind; the entire cabin shook with the thunder. He sat at his little desk, feet firmly on the ground and mind engaged in the war. In yet another battle of the only kind he knew, the combat of creation.

A little under three hours until dawn’s due and he still didn’t even have an idea. Holding the pen, nothing entered that space where creation takes place. Well, there wasn’t nothing, it was simply that nothing was right. Nothing seemed right. This state was enough for stasis. And it wasn’t like this hadn’t happened before. To some extent, it happened every night. An emboldened inertia took hold of the inventiveness there in the soul, the inventory of ideation, and did not let it free until a singular moment. One that could never be anticipated. It was impossible to tell what exactly it was that compelled this moment of release. It was never really the same trigger nor the same timing. But it always happened.

The problem now was that it hadn’t happened yet. It stood to reason that if it hadn’t happened yet, this late into his process, then it was entirely possible that it was possible that it couldn’t happen through the entire night. All the way until the end, when dawn’s peek was due.

And if the spark never fired before that time, then what? Then there would truly be nothing. Without the promise of dawn riding in, even for one single day – the world would certainly perish. It might happen slowly, over time, an onset of existential rot inside of the everpresent darkness. In a slow and despairing bloodletting, he’d let himself succumb to the cold darkness of a newly lightless world, all sense of his creative generation missing, forever destroyed. Or it would all go down instantaneously, right as the clock struck the moment of the expectation of the star’s latest Truth.

He knew it did not matter, either way. His failure to pen one would simply mean the death of the world, regardless of duration. His own ineptitude the equivalent of the executioner’s scythe.

He gripped the pen tighter, straining at the chaos within him. Inexplicably, it exploded, breaking in half. Shocked, he stood swiftly. The chair struck the floor and skated back against the wall behind. It was the only utensil he had ever wielded. That pen. Its familiarity held his fingers in confident comfort for ages. He never even considered writing with anything else. Was such a thing possible?

In pause, a fearful consideration landed down upon him, for the potential of the power to be within the pen itself. Perhaps the words meant even more than nothing, only the ink on the parchment made the difference. He could’ve been drawing, or scribbling this whole time, The physical markings were the answer, the reality of the pen’s fluid was the key to dawn’s rising.

If this was true, then his anger in hesitation and his anxiety over his originality had damned the world, with time still on the cosmic clock.

The ink dripped onto the floor, spilling from the tips of his fingers, breaking the moments of rainy quiet. He stood there, motionless; he tried one of his oldest tricks.

He begins to write lines in his mind. Freely flowing mental ink onto mental parchment. Standing in the storm of this space, he writes for many minutes, an hour. He has now penned 10,000 poems. More than he has actually ever written in his life. All of them good, all meaningful in some way. They all do not exist.

He takes notice of something else. Something each of the writs have in common, a characteristic of everything he has ever created in his lifetime.

The poems are all of hope.

They are written on the face of the sun. They bring light and joy; they sing in the glowing bright of eternal sunshine.

He never wrote of darkness, he never approached despair. In truth, he feared their power over him. Alone here, just him and his poems. What might darkness do? The dark is out there, in reality, already here among us. It courses through the winds of this storm, battering his mindspace, damning origins borne of loving embrace. Always, he needed the pages to be filled with positivity, the dreams of something more than his actualized reality. What better way to honor the star’s rise than to compel the imagination to its greatest heights? The mind fit to deal its aspirations and dreams and optimisms earnestly alongside the brightening horizons of his world.

And lo, he’d penned an infinitude of poems, on parchment and in mind, of a life he could not find the courage to live.

But sober realizations imbue for him an even reality: this world he envisions isn’t true. And never could be. The truth includes darkness. Integral to all experience, it has a shoulder all its own. It’s part of the same story and is imbued within every fabric. The harbinger of what makes hope possible is its absence. This balance is the essence of what poetry should be. He was only ever telling half the tale. It was time for this to change.

The ink on his hand is dry now. Through the safety of his home’s threshold, he steps out into the eventide. The storm has stopped. Looking up, it is all too clear that this is no permanent end to its passionate rage. He stands within a temporary reprieve, the grace of the eye. He is thankful for the moment.

Standing in the field, in the twilight of inaction, the boy understands what now must be written. Using the broken piece of his almighty pen, pricks His left hand’s finger. There is singular purpose in the pain imbued with this motion. Life dripping from it, He writes on the Earth. ~