In the Darkest Hours


My footsteps muffled in the darkest ‬
Deserted streets
Fill my consciousness

This dark, dark time
Before the day
Is like another country

A woman in the driveway
By her house
Looking as bewildered as if she
Awoke this morning in Budapest
Eyes me with misgiving
I comfort her with my smile
And good morning
She smiles back

Cars pass sleepily
With seeming reverence
For the quiet

Each stark moment
Dramatically backlit
Begs notice
Reinforces the importance
Of now

In the darkest streets
My footsteps muffled
I am conscious
Of every

I get up at about a quarter to five most weekday mornings to make my commute to work in a suburb about fifteen miles from my home. Everywhere, the mood is quiet and subdued, as if mindful that others might be sleeping. In my home it’s true - my family is sleeping. When I go outside at around six o’clock, I find it is also true there. Windows are dark, and streets and sidewalks are all but deserted.

In the solitude of quiet darkness, footsteps seem more special. Without cars to watch out for or fellow pedestrians to consider, footsteps gain importance since they are making the only sound. It becomes easier to acknowledge and savor each footstep when it is so quiet and all the usual distractions are asleep.

It is good practice to notice your footsteps. They are numbered, you know. You only get to take so many. You may as well take notice of them. Enjoy them, if you can. Why not?

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Comments 20 comments

Cris A profile image

Cris A 5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

It's all very visual and moody, almost noirish. I like it very much.

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Cris. I relish those early hours. They are very special. :)

Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

Beautiful capture Tom. I feel like I should be whispering.

Nat Amaral profile image

Nat Amaral 5 years ago from BC Canada

Very beautiful. I like how you capture the calm before the morning.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

Lovely! I feel like somebody is watching me in the dark;-)))

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Randy. :)

Thank you, Nat.

Well, pull down the shade, Thelma! Thank you

Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 5 years ago

This poem captures the early morning perfectly. I love the lines," This dark time, before the day is like another country." I have often felt that way when I am out early in the morning. Well done.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Briliant and has to be warded that up up and away.

Take care


juneaukid profile image

juneaukid 5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

Tom, this is a fantastic poem, perhaps my favorite of all the poems I have read of yours. I had this feeling when I lived in Ireland where the sun did not rise till 10 am in December.

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Wow..this poem made me feel like I was there..with you..seeing the lady next door...sleeppy. lovevit..I voted up and awesome.debbie

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Is it not the most awesome (almost sacred) time of our 24-hour cycle? As if the cycle had been cleaned of all tension and negativeness, and now fresh again and in anticipation to be grimed with who-knows-what. You have painted with words a pretty perfect picture of this time of the day.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Very interesting Tom..I never thought about counting my footsteps..Loved your poetry..You captured the early morning..

iva dragostinova profile image

iva dragostinova 5 years ago from Brighton, UK

Fantastic imagery! Awesome, beautiful and interesting, definitely up.

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

I love it when someone can relate so well to my poem, Gypsy.

Thanks, Eiddwen! I'm always made happy when you comment.

JK! Thanks so much!

I'm glad you found my imagery vivid, Debbie, thank you.

Sacred is a good way to describe it, Martie. Or holy, as in 'set aside.' Thank you.

Thank you, Ruby! I never thought of counting my footsteps either, but it is a good idea for mindful walking :)

Thank you, Iva!

Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood 5 years ago from Nagpur, India

Such a beautiful way to start a splended day. After every dark night there is a bright day. Lovely poem.

Ann 5 years ago

I like the comparison of the darkest hours to another country where most of the villagers are asleep. :)

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Kulsum!

There is a feeling that the sleepers are all connected that instills a sense of reverence in me. Thank you, Ms. Ann :)

Senoritaa profile image

Senoritaa 5 years ago

Wow, the things you must experience in those dark hours of commute. Full of wisdom your poetry is.

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Senoritaa. In some ways the pre-dawn hours are my favorite time of day.

Felixedet2000 profile image

Felixedet2000 4 years ago from The Universe

really cool and nice piece. thanks

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