Saturday, September 13, 2008
Acquainted with the Night
I'v suffered from insomnia for many years and I was intrigued when I heard about this book, edited by Lisa Spaar. I finally got around to purchasing it. It's a gem - a collection of verse on the subject of insomnia, including poems by Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Simic, Rimbaud, Shakespeare and Shelley. Something to read in the early morning hours.
Here's one I like by Charles Simic:
Mirrors at 4 A.M.
You must come to them sideways
In rooms webbed in shadow,
Sneak a view of their emptiness
Without them catching
A glimpse of you in retutrn.
The secret is,
Even the empty bed is a burden to them,
They are more themselves keeping
The company of a blank wall,
The company of time and eternity
Which, begging your pardon,
Cast no image
As they admire themselves in the mirror,
While you stand to the side
Pulling a hanky out
To wipe your brow surreptitiously.
The still drone of the time
All words put out,
men are sunk into the sweetness
of sleep. Even the far-flung world
has put aside its rages