Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sleep to dream

The prompt this week at Read Write Poem was "dream prompts for a long winter’s nap." My mind took off in two different directions at once: the first being, I rarely dream any more (at least that I remember in the morning) because I fall into bed so exhausted at the end of each day; and second, about a decade ago I had a recurring nightmare from which I used to wake myself up (and poor Jim) screaming, or sometimes crying because I tried to scream and couldn't.

I think I prefer the not dreaming, but I wrote about both.


Soundly is how I sleep
on left side, right knee raised
fingers folded under cool-cased pillow
gratefully cached in crisp cotton stillness
softly snoring
after sustained striving for
serenity, succor, strength
enough to even halfway fill an inner vessel
enough to slake incessant thirst
of ones who cannot quench their own
when waging my daily battle for balance
so each small success is no pyrrhic prize
seven dreamless hours seem
a sublime oasis of peaceful perfection.

Bête Noire

I used to dream of flying
under low and heavy clouds
weaving through naked brittle branches
escaping from a fanged fiend
set on stealing my soul
I couldn’t look behind or
I’d careen out of control
but knew without seeing
cracked and blackened lips
curled back in blood-lust
heard without listening
fierce membrane of webbed wings
furiously churning feeble breeze to gale
sucking me backwards
as it drew ever closer
some nights I couldn’t soar
high, far, or fast enough
and so, as Icarus, fell to earth
tongue and arms bound
impotent to protect myself
I drowned
in bottomless empty well of vampire eyes
my eyes
what terrified me most was knowing
somehow I had willed this when
I started out dreaming
I could fly and
woke up screaming.


Anonymous said...

Very nice poetry!

Did you write the poem in the previous post? I have to ask this because it was exceptional.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I enjoyed reading both these, especially the second, very vivid

Leigh Lear said...

i like them both

gautami tripathy said...

I liked the second one very much.

nowhereland becomes neverland

Beloved Dreamer said...

Both poems are excellent. Although my mind tends to noire so the second was wonderful. Two poems well done my friend


Linda Jacobs said...

I noticed all the alliteration in the first one right away, of course, but hearing it really extended the enjoyment! Thanks.

Both poems are so well crafted!

Christine said...

Great poems! As I read the second one I could feel a knot of anxiety rising in my stomach. Great job recreating the panic you felt in your dreams.

Maybe now that you've written about it and revealed this story to the world (at least to the blogosphere :)
you won't have this nightmare again.

I liked the sleep one too. i love sleep. Even though I dream regularly, some sweet, some not, sleep is alsways gold. Your poem is a wonderful reflection of sweet, restorative sleep.

aubrey said...

i loved them both. the first one made me feel like i was in my bed and made me crave it.

anthonynorth said...

One cosy, the other not.
Great alchemy.

Lirone said...

Liked them both, but particularly the second poem - somehow captured that feeling of nightmare - a fear that's all the more terrifying because it's ambiguous...

paisley said...

the poems so followed what i see as the feeling of both types of sleep... dreamless.. sound peacfully rest full...
and chasing moving running creaming in the second... both very nice,, and i felt the movement in each......

...deb said...

I am so excited to hear you speak your poetry. You worked out the audio very nicely! (I read your comment and have been wanting to come see - and hear - just what you had done. Yippee! It is fabulous.

And for the poems. I loved the first one best, knowing how precious sleep must be to a new mom (so you all tell me) and the serenity of sleep is a marvel. (I am not sure how you are doing so much, but grateful you are writing!)

But the second captured waking fear so well.

Quite a pair. Well done.

And yay!!

Tammy said...

These were both really good but even better when you read them. Outstanding!

Anonymous said...

i like them both too--and love the audio! i must learn how to do that!!

your second poem describes a common night terror (falling backwards through space--another common one is having someone standing there malevolent by your bed or in your room--the second one is the kind i usually have)

i've been writing about my night terrors and posting some of the poems i've written about it on my blog--hope you'll come visit!

chicklegirl said...

Aikaterine--Yes, that was mine. Thank you!

Crafty, Leigh, Gautami, Beloved--Thanks for your kind words. The second one (surprisingly to me) turned out to be my favorite of the two.

Linda--it's so fun to play with words like that. I always worry I might over-do it a bit.

Christine--Actually, I stopped having that particular nightmare about ten years ago. I finally figured out what it meant, and then it went away (whew!)

Aubrey--Oh, I know! I could lay in bed all day, just sleeping and reading a good book.

Anthony--yeah, I was excited after seeing the prompt that I got a dichotomized inspiration. It was just too much for a single poem, so I separated my ideas.

Lirone--the challenge with the second poem was to describe just enough to get the idea across without giving too much detail.

Paisley--I hadn't even thought about that while I was writing, but you're right about the movement. Thank you.

Deb--thanks, and thanks for the idea of recording. It's been really fun and challenging to do readings that reflect what I want my poems to say. About the multi-tasking mom thing: I think I settle for doing only the most important or urgent things each day, and doing most of them half-assed. And if my poetry (and my parenting) rises above that standard at least some of the time, then I consider myself a success!

Tammy--thank you so much; that's great praise indeed.

Artpredator--I've never had the dream about someone standing in my room or by my bed. My bad dreams, if I have them, are always about being chased, being abandoned, or trying to find something that eludes me.