Shadow Is A Ruin
“Dig, Digby, dig!”
Digby stomps on his shadow in the schoolyard. He tries to blot it out because it won’t stop following him. Digby believes the shadow rains down the indignities he suffers, although he doesn’t put it that way. He tells Funti that the shadow makes his father beat him, and his mother smoke too much.
“My shadow is a ruin I don’t want to visit, Funti. My shadow causes my father to think bad thoughts, and then to act on them. It’s the reason he beats me and my mother, although mother sometimes starts it when she drinks the whiskey after she finishes the wine.” Digby has his shadow pinned by the ball of his foot. He balls up his fists and applies so much pressure to pin his shadow his calf quivers.
“But Digby, your shadow has nothing to do in that. Do you see your shadow lurking at home when these things happen?” Funti says. “Your shadow stays out in the sun. It’s an outside thing.”
“Outside, inside, no matter. I know it’s at fault for our troubles. It lives in the walls, in the rug, in the ceiling. It moves about, Funti,” Digby says. “Just because I don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not causing all my troubles.”
“Let’s fly away, Funti.” Digby lifts his foot and his shadow fades away. “Let’s fly away to the other side.”
“Why does my muse only speak when she is unhappy? She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy.”
— Stevie Smith