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,
A pretense.
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
past midnight.
All words put out,
men are sunk into the sweetness
of sleep. Even the far-flung world
has put aside its rages
for sleep.

Only I
am awake.

5 comments:

willow said...

Nice poem, Sharon. I can relate. I'm adding this book to my stack.

laura said...

Wonderful poem ... I love how it condenses down to those two last brief lines!
p.s. Love the "Think--it's patriotic" tag in your sidebar; my brother had a bumpersticker with the same sentiment, and someone peeled it off his car--can you believe it!?

A Brush with Color said...

Sounds like a good book! I've never suffered from insomnia until the last year or so ;)) but here and there I now do...it's strange to be awake like that when the rest of the world is deep in slumber...lovely...

Sherry said...

I'll have to put this title on my list. Sleeplessness has bothered me for several years. I wish I could just read or paint when I can't sleep, but that just doesn't happen.

africantapestry said...

Afe you still up at nights..at some stage I thought you were doing better? Strangely enough, I've completely conked out these last few months, have slept so much I think I've stocked up for low years to come!
Ronell