Friday, January 16, 2015

Poetry Friday: Late at Night in Bed

Last night I woke with a scary scenario in my head and then lay awake worrying for a while.  Since my word for this year is "unafraid," I probably shouldn't even admit to these fears.  This poem is about the sounds we hear in the dark, and the way we interpret them, and the truth we keep from new parents, which is: even once your baby sleeps through the night, you won't.  Not like you used to.

Late at Night in Bed

By Gregory Djanikian
My wife tells me she hears a beetle   
Scurrying across the kitchen floor.   
She says our daughter is dreaming   

Too loudly, just listen, her eyelids   
Are fluttering like butterflies.

What about the thunder, I say,
What about the dispatches from the police car   
Parked outside, or me rolling over like a whale?

She tells me there’s a leaf falling
And grazing the downstairs window,
Or it could be glass cutters, diamonds,
Thieves working their hands toward the latch.   
She tells me our son is breathing too quickly,   
Is it pneumonia, is it the furnace
Suddenly pumping monoxides through the house?

So when my wife says sleep, she means   
A closing of the eyes, a tuning   
Of the ears to ultra frequencies.

(It is what always happens
When there are children, the bed   
Becoming at night a listening post,   
Each little ting forewarning disaster.) 
I shared this poem before back in February of 2009.  You can see that post here.
And here's today's roundup.


Irene Latham said...

Ruth, it's worry about the kids that keep me up at night! I have to remember all the things that are beyond my control... worry really doesn't help. Wishing you sound, lovely, restorative sleep! Thank you for your poem. xo

Tabatha said...

"a tuning/Of the ears to ultra frequencies"
Love this poem, Ruth. Thanks for returning to it. My family has joked before that I can hear a squirrel sneeze in the night!

Anonymous said...

Love this poem - thanks for sharing it. And I like the idea of a word for the year, and your choice of word.

Donna Smith said...

Thanks for sharing this poem. Hadn't heard it before - but oh, so true! I hear every littlest thing at night...changes is breathing, faraway sounds. They probably all play a part in my dreams on the edge.

Linda B said...

That bed at night, a listening post. Even though I have no child at home any more, that 'light' sleeping is still around, and when company is here, it's more profound. Beautifully written truth, isn't it? Thanks, Ruth.

Mary Lee said...

My hearing has never been super-tuned by children. I need to figure out a way to hear these sounds without having had kids!

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you for sharing, Ruth. I feel like my sleep has never been the same since my girls came. The older they get, the worries (and the noises in the night) still keep me awake. BTW, my word for 2015 is "courage". I'm sending you courageous vibes. =)

Becky Shillington said...

Thanks for sharing this, Linda. I completely identify--once my boys were born, it was YEARS before I got a good night's sleep again. The worrying never stops!

Becky Shillington said...

My brain is not working yet this morning, Ruth! I realized as soon as I sent this that I wrote "Linda" in my response (I am reading some of my wonderful writer friends' blogs this morning). I am so sorry!!!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

So glad you introduced me to this poem, Ruth! Even after 14 years, I'm still tuned in to the sounds of my children in their bedrooms.

GatheringBooks said...

I find that I value sleep more and more as I grow older - sometimes it eludes me, and in moment like those, I fret, I worry - which makes it even more difficult to sleep. I think there's also courage in one's admission of being unafraid. :)