poem_variations on the word sleep

i’ve been meaning to post one of the poems that moved me with tremendous force ever, but i never got around to doing it. similar to having a last-song syndrome, i’ve been having the last part of the poem echoing within me for the last few weeks. i never got around to posting it, until i stumbled upon a blog quoting that very same part. right then and there, i knew i had to give justice to the poem by sharing it with you.

so if you are a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a beautiful lover, a wonderful giver, a husband, a wife, you will want to play this part, you will want to be the one entering somebody’s sleep. and i pray that you have someone pictured in your mind while reading this poem. it’s for you to come in full circle.

Variations on the Word Sleep
Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside you, and you enter
it as easily as beathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

And for you, you who love the real me despite my physical limp, my back illness, my different sorts of blindness, my tenacity to wage war at different levels, my dangerous undertow, my being the saddest girl to hold a bottle, “I would like to be the air/that inhabits you for a moment/only. I would like to be that unnoticed/and that necessary.”


belated happy birthday, beleny. you are my favorite ob-gyne in the making. here’s to future hilarious check-ups with you. hey, you owe me a “real” birthday card. i miss that ritual. 🙂 you are the only one who can get away with calling me “tadpole.” 🙂 hug, hug!

One thought on “poem_variations on the word sleep

  1. […] into me by atwood. purple bathing suit by gluck. autumn by rilke. proxy eros by mookie katigbak. variation of the word sleep by margaret atwood. plath’s lady lazarus. alunsina takes a walk in the rain by conchitina […]

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