Abandoning shade, becoming sun: shedding taboos on path to truth


And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

This is the opening stanza of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, and in my mind it paves the way for the discussion of releasing taboos and breaking stereotypes. The “sun” is the “Truth,” which is also the title of the poem and it opposes the untruth, the lies, and the unawareness. 

I’m drawn to this poem because the image of the arrival of the “sun” captures our human nature: we may know intuitively that it is, in the end, better to know or reveal the “truth.” At the same time, we prefer to cushion ourselves in untruth because we know how hard it may be to actually face it. While we have the option of “greeting” the truth, we may also “dread” it and “fear” it. So which alternative would you choose?

I’m a big proponent of facing the truth in spite of the emotions that it may bring to the surface. We are here on this planet to face difficulties, learn from them, and move on, and if we choose to dread/fear them, we delay our own personal growth.

It is only when we truly forgive, let go (of habits, people, places that no longer serve us) or reveal our true nature and desires that we can build better, deeper, more honest relationships with others and with ourselves. We all have the right to emerge from the “… lengthy a/ Session with shade” so that we can become one with the “sun.”

Sweet is it, sweet is it/ To sleep in the coolness/ Of snug unawareness, Brooks admits. And yet “sleeping” and “coolness” are, in the end, not how we are entitled to live our life. Isn’t it better to wake up and bask in the joy and warmth of the sun, of who we really are?




Karo Caran, the Rainbow Poetess, is a poet and a non/fiction writer. Her novel, "Breaking the silence: A story in paintings" focuses on the censorship of art and gay relationships in the postwar, communist Poland. Her poetry-based memoir, "Life in a Footnotes" will be published this summer.
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6 thoughts on “Abandoning shade, becoming sun: shedding taboos on path to truth

  1. I agree! If we deny or choose to avoid the truth it limits our potential for evolving into what we can be. When facing the truth, keep in the energy of love as much as possible and breathe… Thanks for a lovely post!

  2. There are several things I like about your post – first, bringing us such a lovely poem. (I like the words at the end, too – “to sleep in the coolness/of snug unawareness”) I enjoy poems but I don’t always know how to read or understand them, so your discussion brings me into the poem in a way I might not go on my own. In addition, it’s a short poem, so I am more patient in understanding it (rather than trying to labor through something long). Then, of course, there’s the fine message about coming out from ignorance and hiding. Letting go – a life theme and challenge for me, but one I’ve made progress on. I will hold this poem with me as a reminder and motivator. Wonderful post – thank you.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    Where the Personal and Professional Meet

    • Hi Judy, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the poem. I actually shortened it, boiled it down to its essence, precisely for the reason you’ve mentioned–not everyone is patient to read through the entire thing. And also for copyright reasons, I’d rather quote the appropriate lines than copy entire poems and get into trouble. 🙂

  3. Karo I love the poem and your interpretation. For me personally putting my life into the sun and sharing my truth is definitely my path. However I know that not all of us come to every lifetime to work. Some of us are here to sit in the shade and sleep while others can enjoy a bit of both. Whatever the truth is I am truly a sun worshipper.

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