Thursday, November 08, 2007

Awake

Awake at a small hour. Try an arm overhead, between the pillows,

Recovery position, one leg crooked. Forearm chilled

Neck stiff, abandon the attempt that way.

Turn on my back, straighten, stretch, don't twist

In the middle, hips will feel the strain before too long, but straighten.

Close eyes, better to rest, awake, than tire yourself in the hunt

For sleep that will outrun you.

Thoughts proceed, branch or end, join again, touch one another,

Where one dies another springs, opaque or translucent, linear or discrete,

Or run like whorls or rivulets, unpredictable, irregular but still

Their shapes discernible. Until, quite unexpectedly,

Something steps in, their patterns are broken, occluded,

By a solid, living form. Hush, there, see! It's sleep.

Don't move towards it, or try to touch it,

Don't scratch that itch or ask that question,

Or sleep will off, elude, escape you ...



Like when ( and is this a real or created memory? I hardly know), as children,

In chalkland beechwoods we kicked, mildly bored, through leafmould,

Looking for a cloven print, observed the chewed off tops of round-stemmed grasses

(The pith of their peeled insides like white sponge rubber), resigned,

That would be all we'd see of fallow deer, until the moment

When the doe stepped out into the path, her dappled substance now

And not the wood suddenly the sole reality.

Or when I stood by the stream that runs into the ponds at La Tantouille,

Idly watching and hearing its movement over the stones, then became aware

Of another movement, another presence, moving towards me up the streambed.

Momentarily I understood true panic,

The bewildering gift of the god of wild things,which turned

To wonder, and gratitude, when the fox, her head lowered,

Paddled out from beneath the overhanging twigs and leaves,

And raised her eyes to look at me, held my gaze

An instant, and was gone.

13 comments:

Plutarch said...

If this is a sample of the new daily box-elder, please keep it up. I hope it's enjoyable for you. I'm sure it is for your readers. I love Awake, I know Awake. We can forget W S Gilbert.

Lucy said...

Joe, praise from you worth a ream of comments! Yes, it's an enjoyable way to use up some things, I've always more than I can normally use.
You have me at a disadvantage this time; despite a music teacher who pursued the delightfully anachronistic activity of making 1960s small children in a flat-roofed, plate-glass(so uncomfortably hot for country dancing!) Hertfordshire primary school, enact entire performances of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, I do not know WS Gilbert's 'Awake'!

Lucy said...

... but I've just looked it up! It's rather hilarious isn't it?

Tall Girl said...

good to see poetry here... and a subject close to my heart... the first few lines so evocative

jzr said...

Such lovely words, Lucy! I was with you all the way!! Thanks for sharing this!

marja-leena said...

Lovely evocative poem., Lucy, I really identify with the first part. What gifts you have, and share.

zhoen said...

Patchwork quilting.

meggie said...

A lovely walk..

Lucy said...

Thanks.
TG - Again, praise from a real poet gratefully received. I usually steer clear of it, largely because there are many such as yourself doing it better. I tend to think my poetry is too, well, prosey! However, sometimes it's like black and white photography, it's the only thing that will do, and this every day thing is quite good for encouraging a 'what the hell, just post it anyway' attitude! ... and JZR - I think everyone knows something of insomnia; I'm fortunately not tormented by it as other are, but the images and conviction that I had to write it down the next day, actually came to me at that moment of dropping off.
ML and Meggie - thanks!
Z - I think you've given me an idea...

Plutarch said...

A phrase had lodged in my mind, but I couldn't remember from which opera. After 10 minutes flipping though the text,I found it. Iolanthe:
When you're lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is tabboo's by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire - the bedclothes conspire of usual slumber to plunder you;
Then the blanketing tickles - you feel like mixed pickles - so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And your hot and your cross, and you tumble and toss till there's nothing twixt you and the ticking.

It goes on..and the accuracy of the discomforts described does not deminish.

Plutarch said...

A phrase had lodged in my mind, but I couldn't remember from which opera. After 10 minutes flipping though the text,I found it. Iolanthe:
When you're lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is tabboo's by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire - the bedclothes conspire of usual slumber to plunder you;
Then the blanketing tickles - you feel like mixed pickles - so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And your hot and your cross, and you tumble and toss till there's nothing twixt you and the ticking.

It goes on..and the accuracy of the discomforts described does not deminish.

Lucy said...

Well done you for remembering it!
I looked it up and enjoyed it, it's called 'A nightmare' I think. I especially like the bit about all your family arriving and needing feeding, as this is a recurrent bad dream I have!

Dick said...

A vivid & unsettling depiction of lying awake, caught between present reality & dream. I know this place!