The Valley
Original music from The Real Me is Here Anyway,
composed by Peter Aaron Schmidt

Poems By The Cast:

The cast was invited to write poems on the theme of not being able to see light without first seeing the dark. The question we were exploring was, "are 'difficult' emotions of any value?"

Here's what some of us had to say...

In The Darkness
by Audrey McGee

In the Darkness
Joy. All of us know the word.
We embrace and long for it;
We shun sadness—but that’s absurd.
To value light, we all must sit—
 
In the darkness.
 
Click. All of the lights go out.
We shudder and close our eyes.
We pretend that the lights are always on;
We laugh when we want to cry
 
In the darkness.
 
Wait. How can darkness free us?
You forget there are more lights
Called Hope, Peace, Love, and Patience.
You cannot have those without nights—
 
In the darkness.
 
To be sure, we should not stay there.
We all need light in our lives.
But don’t hide sorrow with blank stares;
That's worse than crying, which thrives
 
In the darkness.
    

A Candle O’er the Overheads 
by Audrey McGee

Click. The lights go out.
In the dark, Fear fairly
Knocks you over,
And you hear Anger yelling at him.
Disgust grabs your arm, and you both
Stumble away from the voices.
And suddenly you’re alone.
Alone.
Huddle to yourself. Your knees keep you company.
You draw a blank.
And then, with an almost imperceptible touch
On your hand,
A tear forms in your eye. I’m lonely.
The grip gets firmer and harder, and
Suddenly you let out a bawl.
Tears streaming down your cheeks,
You don’t even notice Fear
As he grabs on to one of your legs.
Sadness wraps you in a bear hug
And now you cry for fear.
Disgust nudges your toe,
And Anger punches your shoulder,
And you scram for help as you think,
I can’t believe myself.
Sadness only grabs tighter.
And then you see a tiny spark of light.
Somebody lit a candle.
Fear releases first, and scuttles away.
Disgust and Anger hesitantly retreat.
Sadness sits back, and pats your hand;
A bright hand tips your chin up, and you
Shed a few tears for joy.
Would the Peace, Joy, and Hope
Found in that tiny candle
Have found you in the overhead lights?
A smile lights your face
As the last few tears drip off your nose.    

Out of the Darkness
by Betsy Hailes

Out of the darkness You rescued me
I was angry but now free

Out of the darkness and into a new light You brought me

I knew not what love was
You set me free so that I might find love
Out of the darkness I run
I ran and found love
You showed me the love of a mother
Out of the darkness
I am now in a new light
My yearning for love now filled
In a new light I run
I now see where I go
Out of the darkness You rescued me
I knew not understanding

Out of the darkness and into a new light You brought me
You set me free so that I might find understanding

Out of the darkness I run
I ran and found understanding
You showed me the understanding of a father

Out of the darkness
I am now in a new light
My yearning for understanding now filled

In a new light I run
I now see where I go
Out of the darkness You rescued me
I was hungry for friendship but now free
Out of the darkness and into a new light You brought me

I knew not what friendship was
You set me free so that I might find friendship

Out of the darkness I run
I ran and found friendship
You showed me the friendship of a sister

Out of the darkness
I am now in a new light
My yearning for friendship now filled
In a new light I run
I now see where I go
Out of the darkness and into a new light

I am now satisfied


Now I Can See
by Richard Kotwica

So many people walking the path now, full of ridicule
The trail to work, the road to school.
But I can see.
I can see their steps away from a used ashtray,
From the hollows of that dirty porch,
Or the glory of the bright doorway.
I can see.
Their eyes give it all away.
The hollow “happy place” stare
Or the garish smile some of them wear
All of them pretending to not say silent prayers.
But I can see.
But I’ve been to that dirty porch
Ive lived the hollow hearted high five
I used to not see.

I can see. Now.
I’ve walked through the darkness and stumbled in the shadow.
I know what its like to be blind while trying to tiptoe.
Now I can see.
I never knew as I stepped through the thorns and the pain
That my eyes were closed still trying to chart unknown terrain.
I used to not see.
My eyes were wide shut to my face in the mirror.
I didn’t want to see the window to my soul any clearer.
I didn’t want to see.
I looked at my face and saw a lazy monster
This couldn’t be the real me, it had to be an imposter.
I couldn’t bear to see.
Myself in my skin just wasnt ever good enough
But I had to pretend, because everyone else acted tough.

Then I hit a wall. Not literally of course.
But pushing me deep into my ignored emotions, it did force.

Deep down the spiral I went,
More and more demons came to my torment.

Not to glaze over it, but you know what I mean.
Lets just say that happiness in that time was exceedingly lean.

Then I opened my eyes.
I looked around and took off my disguise.
I had been hiding behind a self shadow version
But feeling my emotions led to a true conversion.

Im a believer now in looking deep within
And feeling the real feels, not just faking a grin.
When you experience the dark,
It lets you see the world through more than a question mark.
With eyes opened, you can see the light
The stumbles and cracks give way to flight.

Where once I was seemingly beastly
My soul numbed like the dead sea,
Now, I can really see.

I Will Never Stay
by Megan Clum

Sometimes, I’m afraid my eyes tell the world everything
That my fear is a tattoo written on my thoughts
That the stepladder I climb at night never reaches Heaven.
Somedays I worry that I’ll smile so hard my cheeks will crack.
That my imagination is a hollow tree.
That my memories are shadow puppets dancing where I can’t see.
That my skin is a ghost’s sheet.
Sometimes I fear that my future is a backward climb,
That my feet are cinder blocks,
I will only sink and never walk.
But,
my eyes are raw wounds that soak in light,
Lacerations making glasses for my sight.
I see a world that’s brilliant,
I never suffer gray.
I’ve travelled the dark deeper than most,
But I will never stay.
My scars shine bright in the sun.