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Bewildering Stories

About “Stain of Light”

by Oonah V. Joslin

I also took the liberty of reading what John and you had to say about ‘Stain of Light’. Thank you both for that. I’m very honoured.

My own answer would have been that the hubris — as John so rightly puts it — of the window is astounding. It merely reflects the light, but at the end of that first line the words ‘I am’ are the Old Testament name that God gave of himself to Moses. It didn’t think of itself perhaps as the work of a creator when it was at its best. Of course by the end it is broken and bows the knee, but not to man: “Lord have mercy on this relic of glass.”

It sees past man to the mind of man and ultimately to faith:

only begotten of the minds of men
and fashioned by faith.
Faith therefore has the last word. But it begs the question; when all the great works of men lie in dust, is faith the greatest construct of the human mind? And if so, is it just another artefact? So my answer is in fact a question: Is Faith the last word?

Thank you both.

And thank you, Don for that ‘Golden Age of Poetry’ reference. That is something all we poets in Bewildering Stories will wear as a badge. Greatly appreciated. You made my day and I’m certain, John’s too.


Copyright © 2010 by Oonah V. Joslin

As I said before, the poem is a prism that transmits light of many colors. And as for your question whether faith is the “last word,” what can anyone say? Whether or not faith is the “last” word, faith — in something — is certainly the first. And what is that faith actually, as opposed to what we may say it is? That’s a question worth pondering.

By my reckoning, Bewildering Stories is in a third Golden Age of poetry. I’m not going to enumerate them: there’d be no end of naming names or citing titles. But they have been punctuated by Dark Ages, where we had no poetry at all or none that would qualify for a Retrospective or Quarterly Review. Things go in cycles, and when times are good, we say “Let the good times roll.”


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