Writs of Dawn

{a short story}

last writs 1~ art by Romildo Santos

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

He simply writes. Most of the time he doesn’t even think about what it is he is doing. He writes simply so that he doesn’t have to any longer. He pens poetry so that the sun rises each morning.

Looking out upon its orange glow bleeding across the horizon, he can’t help but feel the weight of his burden. Despite this, the glow of the light upon his homestead makes him breathe in deeply, feeling more alive. A man feels thankful for a new day; a man can’t help but feel the responsibility of existence lessened by dawn’s prominence. He knew his work was good. One way or another, it always 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 being irrelevant. His hands are the primary tool. The motion itself, as opposed to the originality or the working of his mind to generate true artistic presence each time. Despite his calloused and overworked thoughts on the subject, it did pain him to think that perhaps it did not matter. It needed to matter. Somehow, after all these years, he still felt a singular pride in his role. He needed the meaningfulness of his work to be true. 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 always held a certain significance to him. It was as if the artistry of it could save the whole of the work and 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 it with sense of certainty, 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 despite his incessant ponderings of what others would think if they sincerely had. And now that he thought a little more deeply about it, 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 to keep everything going. Why did this seem to 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. It was second nature now. “Dawn Depending.” The 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 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 smiled into the glory and breathed out for a spell.


The storm raged outside. There had never been one this bad, not 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. It was 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 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 in the soul, the inventory of ideation, and did not let it free until a certain moment. 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 throughout the entire night. And if the spark never fired throughout the night, 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. In this slow bloodletting, he lets himself succumb to the cold darkness of a newly lightless world, all sense of his creative generation missing, forever destroyed. Or it would simply happen instantaneously, right as the clock struck the moment of the expectation of the star’s latest Truth.

He knew it did not matter. 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 explodes, breaking in half. Shocked, the man stands swiftly. The chair strikes the floor and skates back against the wall behind. It was the only utensil he had ever wielded. Its familiarity held his fingers in confident comfort for years. He had never even considered writing with anything else. Pausing for a moment, he considers in fear the potential for the power to be within the pen itself. Perhaps the words meant nothing, only the ink on the parchment made the difference. The physical markings were the answer, the reality of the pen’s fluid was the key to dawnrise. 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 drips onto the floor, spilling from the tips of his fingers. He stands and tries 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, and they all do not exist.

But 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, the bringer of light into the realm. He never writes of darkness, he never approaches despair. He fears their power over him. Those things are based in reality, they are already here. They course through the winds of this storm, battering his mindspace, damning origins borne of loving embrace. He always needed the pages to be filled with positivity, and the dreams of something more than his reality; an infinitude of poems of a life he could not find the courage to live. 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.

But sober realizations imbues for him an even reality; this world he envisions isn’t true. 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 the fabric of reality. The harbinger of what makes hope possible is its absence. The balance is the essence of what poetry should be. He was only ever telling half the tale and 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. But nevertheless, he is thankful for the moment. Standing in the field, in the twilight of inaction, He understands what now must be written. Using the piece of his almighty pen he pricks his left hand’s finger. There is singular purpose in the pain imbued with this motion. Life dripping from it, he begins to write on the Earth. ~