Nocturnal octet

I.
Sleep is drinking tea in familiar surroundings;
in a room with paintings from my mother’s home
and the old piano where once I taught myself
to play “Für Elise” (while going crazy.)

II
Sleep is my breathing:
the steady beat of teaspoons stirring —
strange it is:
I always drank my tea unsweetened.

III.
Sleep is to be surprised with details,
like visits of forgotten friends,
or that blackbirds are as me.

IV
Sleep is shredding poetry
I’ve never read.
Remembering or rearranging or forgetting.

V.
Sleep is the bottom of a deep well,
where daylight
is a distant disc
and water seeps into my shorts
while waiting to be saved.

V!
Sleep is the cold breeze from a back-door
opened to a cemetery;
walking along a gravel path with moss covered headstones
leaning to the north and finding
(chiseled and eroded) my own name in granite

VII
Sleep is giving answers to questions never asked
and asking questions never to be answered.

VIII
Sleep is swimming —
the hard work in vain to reach the island of awakeness.

The navvies’ graveyard in Tornehamn by me

Today we have MTB on sleep at dVerse. Frank hosts and you are free to write using any tool in your poetic toolbox. Bar opens at 9 PM CET.

September 28, 2017

30 responses to “Nocturnal octet

  1. Sweet mother of pearl, Bjorn. Your poetry is really elevated lately. I’m seriously impressed.

    It’s all absolutely fabulous, but these lines, in particular, stand out to me:

    “to play “Für Elise” (while going crazy.)”
    “Sleep is to be surprised with details”
    “Sleep is shredding poetry”
    “where daylight
    is a distant disc
    and water seeps into my shorts
    while waiting to be saved” … I love this!

    “Sleep is the cold breeze from a back-door
    opened to a cemetery”

    It is pure joy to read this most excellent piece. Keep it up, B. ~Whatever you’re doing.

  2. There is something about the sipping tea that pulled me in, and “the steady beat of teaspoons stirring.” The imagery created its own rhythm and set the mood for me. Well done.

  3. What a wonderful batch of sleep stanzas, brother. I always enjoy the ease with which you shift from concrete to abstract imagery. You influenced me to do short stanzas too–american sentences, collom lunes, tanka & haiku. I like your line /or that blackbirds are as me/.

  4. Very many and unusual descriptions of sleep. They all get me thinking, but in particular the fourth one about shredding poetry and the last about the work involved with trying to wake up.

  5. I really like this form, Bjorn, it reminds me of your art prompts, and I love the musical references.I also like the traces of autobiography, especially in the
    ‘room with paintings from my mother’s home
    and the old piano where once I taught myself
    to play “Für Elise”…’
    I especially like:
    ‘Sleep is the bottom of a deep well,
    where daylight
    is a distant disc
    and water seeps into my shorts
    while waiting to be saved’
    and
    ‘Sleep is swimming —
    the hard work in vain to reach the island of awakeness’.

  6. Strange, isn’t it, the places we visit and revisit in our sleep. I find I often return to the home where I raised my children. I loved your metaphors, so beautifully descriptive!

  7. I like this eternal sleep stanza the best-walking along a gravel path with moss covered headstones
    leaning to the north and finding
    (chiseled and eroded) my own name in granite

  8. Fantastic instances…….I especially love the tea drinking….and your closing lines……..awakening is what we all need to be doing, all over the planet. Loved this, Bjorn.

  9. Lovely troubled images across the eight hours of the night. The progressive strangeness. The graveyard – foreshadowed by the teaspoons, the quiet room, the well, the blackbirds. Rich and dark.

  10. You have some real gems here, I especially enjoyed III, IV, V and oh, the last one is perfect, swimming to reach the island of awakening. I think my arms might get tired swimming across the great divide.

  11. I listened to Fur Elise while reading this. 🙂 I get faint T.S. Eliot vibes from this, it is surreal, comforting and disquieting. The structure of this makes it easy to read and I especially liked that stanza V. –Excellent!

  12. What a geyser of metaphor! I would love to hear this read aloud in a Leonard Cohen-esque voice to some United States of Poetry synthesizer. And I’m reading this while drinking tea to fight a cold! Thank you for these gift verses!

  13. I love the dreamy ramble of this stream of consciousness infused piece – gathering little metaphoric gems along the way. My two favorites: ‘Sleep is to be surprised with details’ – WOW, and ‘Sleep is shredding poetry I’ve never read.’ … DOUBLE WOW!!

  14. kaykuala

    Sleep is giving answers to questions never asked
    and asking questions never to be answered.

    Love this clever way of saying it, Bjorn! Sleep is not being aware, that’s why!

    Hank

  15. Although sleeping for some time with regards to blogging – I do still read. And reading the above I am seriously impressed too.. I did intend to respond earlier – but things got in the way.
    Brilliant words dear Björn – a pure masterpiece (and your strength as a poet grows and grows…)
    Anna :o]

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