Ritual for the Darkest Night of the Year by Bhanu Kapil

“I have walked in the unknown rain,” writes Alejandra Pizarnik, in the translation by Cecilia Rossi.

Yes, transcribe this line from the poem, ‘L’Obscurité des Eaux’, into your notebook, or what passes for a notebook. Then write beneath it.

Can the paragraph be your art form tonight? Alternatively, pour a translucent resin over the sentence, then invert it.

On the darkest night of the year, can you sense what is right for you? Whichever path you take (public sculpture, poetry, prose), don’t speak. Keep writing until you reach it, the place where a red sun gobbles up daffodils, celandines, all the yellow flowers. This is suction.

My mother said, perhaps it’s not only the daffodils that absorb the sun’s energy, but the other way around.

Write a philosophy of the darkest night. Not yet. Tomorrow. Stay awake if you can, seated upright in bed. I tried but could not. If your physiology and life conditions permit it, try. Wait for it. Wait for the Radiant One to arrive.


This ritual was originally published in the Ignota Diary 2022. The Ignota Diary 2023 is now shipping.