A Plague of Darkness sheds light upon the sense of quiet desperation currently devastating the children of our society: Black, white, yellow or red. This plague, which we watch morph and transform itself into its differing forms every evening on our nightly news is an equal opportunity destroyer.
During a cross-country plane trip during a particularly ‘dark’ time, Payack penned A Plague of Darkness. To better illustrate (and encapsulate) the emotional toll this unseeable plague has wrecked upon the emotional lives of our children across the land, he further illustrated this essay with a series of some thirty ‘collages’ that will help you see the devastation through the mind (and eye) of the child, which remain hopeful, above all.
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A Plague of Darkness (Preview)
Paul JJ Payack is a Silicon Valley marketing executive who has published in some dozen collections and hundreds of reviews and anthologies around the world, including The Paris Review, New Letters, Creative Computing, and Boulevard.
At the same time, Payack has served as a senior executive for some of the world's leading high technology companies. Currently, Payack serves as Chairman, President & The WordMan at yourDictionary.com, the leading global language portal.
"Paul Payack's ability to blend the mediums of writing and pictorial art into a collage of prophetic insight is incredibly unique and provocative. A Plague of Darkness is a rich feast of mental and spiritual expression that will move your thinking to a higher plain."
—Pastor Ron Pinkston is a noted author, lecturer, and radio personality featured on A Day of New Beginnings.
“The brief, almost bald, summation of crucial experience that attains its power through its stark reductiveness.”
—Sylvia L. Berkman, author of Blackberry Wilderness
A Plague of Darkness has befallen us, covering over our land, and much of the world, particularly settling upon those places we commonly call ‘The West.
A pox is upon us. And our children.
No part of the planet has been, or will be, spared this Plague.
This Darkness. It is all encompassing, devastating and insidious. All the more so because, unlike the plagues of olden times and yore, this one cannot be blamed on a jealous or vengeful God, a rampaging microbe, or even to random chance. Rather this plague that has befallen our children is the work of our own hands.
Look deeply into the mirrored glass. Therein lies the culprit and the cause. It is you. It is me. And the world we have inherited, created and begotten.
The Plague is felling the children, all our children, your children. The children of the neighborhood, the ghetto, the reservation.
From blue-blooded estates to the camps of migrant workers. No child is immune. The darkness seeps into his or her heart, into their minds, and, finally, into their souls.
It takes many forms, but all are dark: You know them better than you’d ever hope to admit: depression, anorexia, molestation, bulimia, rape, stray gunshots, alcohol, abandonment: the various manifestations of violence to which we, like caged laboratory rats, have become de-sensitized, jaundiced, and immune.
This plague differentiates not on the basis of race, class or creed. This plague is an equal opportunity destroyer.
We watch this plague morph, transform itself, into its differing forms every evening on the nightly news. We build walls around us, as if to protect ourselves, our homes, and our families.
Until we find, alas, that no man, no woman, no child is immune. Black, white, yellow or red.
For the darkness has seeped under the door, through the window, out of the modem, over the cable, or through the satellite dish. And we know it because we hear the cries. And suddenly, chillingly realize, perhaps to late, that the plague has claimed one of our own.
In the pages that follow, I've tried to capture that world, the world of the children, our children. I've culled the images from nineteenth century woodcuts, engravings and illustrations to place some distance between ourselves and our current reality. These images from a different time, a differing place – and mindscape -- do not address the diversity of today’s world.
More the pity; more the better.
Divorce yourself from the concerns of everyday life and glance anew. Look beyond, look into, look through the image and straight into the soul of your child.
Trust no one. Not these words. Not me.. Not yourself. Perhaps Darkness is not the right word for this plague. For it is invisible, or at least transparent, unseen and, perhaps, unseeable; unknown and, perhaps, unknowable.
This is not an indictment as much as a plea. A plague has fallen upon our children. Only by recognizing, acknowledging, and embracing this fact, this reality, can we begin to lead them into the light.