Saturday, August 02, 2008

While Falling Asleep

I wrote odd poetry last night as I was falling asleep. I had been reading Mary Oliver, whose work I love, but I realized I don't love it as much as the work of Margaret D. Smith. Maybe I should have a look at these strange ramblings:

Poem While Falling Asleep

I stack six books in my lap
or two
or three
never one
lest I not be able
to devour them all.

By having my hands
on three or four
objects at once
I hope to gain
years lost in
a swift backward march.

The other day I followed stories
to their source --
the other day I followed me
and became a story.

Outside are growing things --
beetles in the dirt,
soft-spotted fawn.

How I would like
to keep them company.

As hours turn to years
I must decide:

Will I let it all be snake-stolen?

How many herons will I need
to carry the books I want to write?


Here's another one...

Dream Poem

Today as I was
falling asleep I felt
I needed a uniform
for dreams.

How else to go into
them without the dignity
of piping, pressed pockets
and a really good hat?

If you are prepared to go into a dream -- that
is to say, dressed properly --
the people will know
to offer the proper respect
reserved for dreamers
who arrive at their dreams
in some official capacity.

If you forget some of this --
especially the hat --
you may be subject to
the whims of dream people
who, while not altogether solid,
can pack a mean left hook
when you aren't expecting it.

If you remember at least the hat,
those in the dream will know
to solute,
to serenade you,
or at least to bring flowers.

These are the rules for going into a dream:
1) find a small rock that you can kick
in order to find your way out
2) talk to strangers
3) never interpret a dream while you are
in the dream -- that's cheating.

Try to find a quiet place
in the dream,
like a side lawn of a house
or an abandoned airplane hangar.

Especially, look for someplace
that is spelled correctly.
Failing that, look for a
dream-like spelling
and the muses will forgive you.

Know that dream travel
is dangerous
the way certain snakes
are dangerous --
always carry a flute and basket
and you will have
nothing to fear.

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