Dark Nights, in Charleston and Beyond

When words fail, let the music play. This Saturday's Marley Lion Music Festival will bring together our community to remember, celebrate, laugh, cry, and heal following the tragedy in our own backyard

Marley Lion's Academic Magnet H.S. classmates at the Folly boat


As a writer and reader blogging on all things allegedly literary, it’s difficult to admit that sometimes, there are no words.


Words fail, even poetry fails—that wondrous alchemy of words, rhythm, imagery, and some other indescribable mystery ingredient—falls short of being able to shed some glimmer of comfort, hope, or beauty in the wake of recent dark nights. 


I find no words to wrap around the atrocity of Batman’s darkest night ever last week in Aurora. And I am still speechless, choked up and heart-broken, when I see photos of adorable Marley Lion who was brutally murdered in Charleston’s own backyard last month. Not even the applauded go-to clamor for gun control suffices. Those words are necessary, but not enough. Not nearly enough.

Marley Lion 


But thankfully there is music, the blood brother and soul sister of poetry. Music somehow can take the empty words out of our mouths, the unspeakable emotions from our deepest being and infuse them with life, redemption, and a body-swaying rhythmic “yes.” I felt this at Marley’s funeral, when a church praise band (which normally makes me cringe) elevated and transformed the spirit of a heartbroken throng of mourners from anger and tears into something close to comfort. I felt it after September 11th, when I listened to an Arvo Pärt CD on endless repeat. And I felt it last week, when I would mute the bleak news reports from Colorado and instead listen to Charleston's Delia Chariker say everything I needed to hear via the redemptive chords of her Native American flute.


This Sunday music will again work its magic. The Marley Lion Music Festival will bringing together our community to remember, celebrate, laugh, cry, dance, heal, hope, and support Marley’s family, his classmates and friends, and enjoy what he loved—music. Come out to James Island County Park this Sunday, 7/29, from 4-8 p.m., and be the music amidst a dark and sometimes wrenching, wordless world.