Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sleepers Awake

Far Away, by ~lorency


Sleepers Awake



Last night I went back to the old house.
It looked like a house in a moon,
a purple moon in an ashen sky
with wisps of wind walking
through red clouds
picking their way like spider’s legs
through a saucer of wine,
drawing out a cord to hang
one bright green star
for you to wish on.

You were down the long hall in your bed
made from an acorn and a husk,
covered with blue cobwebs,
holding your smiling
stuffed creature of cloth
tight to your thin chest,
breathing low and ragged.

I reached to push the hot hair 
from your face
with a hand of smoke,

and house and hand and moon
were gone.
Gone as you are, far away
but close as a fear
breathing 
behind me in the dark.

Waking then I watched the ruined leaves 
come down in the bleached storm light,
watched them erase the russet walls,
the old bridge;
a falling hush, their
dirty drained bodies
made grey twitching shrouds
in the coldest hour.

Down through the darkness
startling the eye
an owl dropped from clearing clouds
claims the heart.
A rabbit's squeal,
silence

till the nightingale sings on,
a song of purple night. 



March 2011



Posted for OneShotWednesday at the inimitable, Shorty Award-winning 



Epilogue





"Sleepers Awake, 2009, Ashley, Bach," courtesy YouTube
(With thanks to the unknown Ashley and her teacher,  friends, parents or relatives, for posting her piano solo, which I found by chance and seemed to fit the mood of the poem.)

Top image: Far Away, ~lorency, courtesy deviantArt

42 comments:

  1. She's adorable. I love the heart and crayon marks on the sheet music.

    The poem is chilling, like late October incarnate. And so full of loss.

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  2. Intensely moving. The language is inspired and the execution superb. Many lines here will live long in my memory. Thank you. James.

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  3. The poem is incredibly sad and otherworldly.

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  4. Loved this image:
    "with wisps of wind walking
    through red clouds
    picking their way like spider’s legs
    through a saucer of wine,"

    it is so so vivid.

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  5. Ah, your Creative Challenge entry? Good piece. Purple night... that's quite evocative an image. Strong piece (as usual!)

    Warmest Salad

    Luke

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  6. This poem is exquisite in its imagery!

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  7. This is beautifully creepy. Every line and image seems to organically flow from the one before with a true dreamlike quality. My favorite words "It looked like a house in a moon,
    a purple moon in an ashen sky" perfectly puts the reader in the dream where we are anonymous and have no idea what will happen next. The small bed of husk and acorn has an aliceinwonderland feel as if the "you" of the poem has now shrunk to smaller than doll proportions and yet is still crusty and textured and hard. Lots to experience here and to wake from. Another gorgeous write from you, Joy.

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  8. Joy Ann, that is a gorgeous piece of writing. Haunting, but beautiful. The little girl is adorable.

    Pameal

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  9. That dark place you write from is fantastic.

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  10. " gone....but close as a fear breathing behind me in the night". Wow, Joy. The darkness, the midnight mood, and the image of the owl dropping and the rabbit's squeal. Fantastic writing!

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  11. What a fantastical poem with blue cobwebs and hands of smoke. It felt eerie and dreamy to me, and thanks for sharing the sweet video :)

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  12. love the owl dropping down to take the mouse...yet still the nightengale sings...you set quite the tone in this one with your imagery...nicely played...

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  13. I tried to read the poem twice, but couldn't. You have created a strong emotional experience in this poem,Joy.I will reread during the day.

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  14. @AG--it's a rough ride, I know, Ann. No pressure.

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  15. Ah Joy, as Gay said "beautifully creepy"...the ashen and blue cobwebs the colors fading in and out are like a halogram of images of past and present ...pulling the reader down the hall from room to room and looking up at a purple moon - you writing always takes me to places I normally do not go...always new...thank you...bkm

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  16. Great poem. It made me feel all kinds of things I'm unable to put a name to, so I guess that's good! Creepy is the wrong way to describe it...melancholy and eerie...that does it. :)

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  17. amazing writing - reminds me of dreaming, those feelings of excitement, fear, a sense of normalcy yet foreign as well, frightful for sure...I could go on and on. Thank you for this wonderful ride!

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  18. What Beachanny said. (Took the words out of my mouth.)

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  19. This is dark! I preened on the computer screen with my shoulder crouched. As the poem ended, the reality dawned upon. I was reading you on online!

    Very well written.. like a fantasy Gothic animation.. Kudos!

    Hugs xx

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  20. Strong and haunting poem Joy, I reckon you were going for this though weren't you? Reminds me of the scene setting in Frankenstein by Shelly, possibly because it was what I read last night!Very strong and you set the ambience perfectly with a prosey feel in stanza one.

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  21. An otherworldly offering, suggesting how our dreams and our past fuse into loss. The image of "you" which seems to be a sleeping ghost-child (?) is haunting. And that loss--"gone as you are but close as fear"--is indeed scary and suggests a profound loss that resonates throughout the rest of the piece.

    What I find most intriguing is the seeming redemption at the by the nightingale and it's song, as if some peace is made with loss, with ghostly hauntings.

    Thought-provoking offering today, Hedgewitch. You never disappoint!

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  22. love the poem, great imagery. The lines that particularly spoke to me are:
    'Gone as you are, far away
    but close as a fear
    breathing
    behind me in the dark.'
    I read these and had to cast yet another spell for D in Afghanistan!

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  23. I love the imagery of this, the story that it tells. Beautiful, haunting poem.

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  24. it all comes together eventually...your talent is large...LARGE

    Peace, hp

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  25. You are your magisterial best in the trope of fey incantation ... this could easily be down the path of "Midsummer NIght's Dream" as a children's book, or Grimm's tale ... The power of incantation, of brewing up in an image (as you do in your dark Kitchen) absolute bubbles with this brew of memory and dream and assembly of the choiring night. The speaker could be a woman reaching back to herself as a child, or to a more distant child (of the times, of someone else's wound), as much as the speaker could be Titania leaving a happy charm on a sleeping pixie's brow. There is to the frank dreadfulness of fairy tale which has its roots in colder myth, the old martiarchal power of Dame Nature or Lady of the Beasts for whom sweetness and blood, life-in-death an death-in-life are one. All of it pitch-perfect in the metered chant of the poem. - Brendan

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  26. A totally involving poem. You carried me into a dream/childhood with your verse.

    Excellent, provocative and evocative.

    Beautiful, dream-like processional.

    Lady Nyo

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  27. This was like an Addam's Family bedtime story - love it!

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  28. In the beautiful bright light of this sunny day I now see the hope of new life in the song of the nightingale. (In the dark of last night I couldn't get beyond death). Bach's Sleepers Awake combines continuous deep chords with tinkling light tones well suited to the poem's lullaby of life and death.

    Coincidently, I read a short story yesterday called "The Old House' in The World We Live In, by Louis Bromfield. It took place during WWII and contained so many of the elements of nightmare developed in your poem but also the nightingale's song. The 1944 story and your contemporary poem share a theme (minus the somewhat elitist bits in Old House) that has gathered no moss during the sixty plus years of their separation.

    Thanks for another thought provoking poem.

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  29. this is so alive and descriptive! i love your use of colors, the entire poem is so ripe with expression!

    a purple moon in an ashen sky
    with wisps of wind walking
    through red clouds...

    one bright green star
    for you to wish on.

    haunting yet crawling with expression! great job...

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  30. I feel a palpable emptiness after reading the first half of this. So much is gone when one awakens from sleep, yet clarity comes and brings a different kind of seeing.

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  31. Many thanks all, for reading, and for your feedback. Your time and involvement keep me writing.

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  32. I feel so close to that space that the dreamer is in that I could cry. This is beautifully sad.

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  33. yes - i remember this...the spider’s legs
    through a saucer of wine..this is a wild ride through imagery land joy..love it....mine was "When - Life" but didn't post it so far..

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  34. Incredible poem. I like how the spider walked in and pulled everything down. Magnificent!

    And have always LOVED that Bach tune with all my soul.

    xoxo

    P.S. I shall make YOUR sidebar button next, look for it in the next 2 to 3 days.

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  35. This would be my third reading of your poetry and still I can't draw up from my consciousness that's still soaked in its fluid richness of imagery and interlacing tales words that could sound 'of the intellect'. My references, you see, lodge only in my senses and how does one disentangle interstices of one's own to braid with yours? I love the whole movement--that the young piano player accompanied the text gave it more depth--but especially how you fade out the poem with the rabbit's squeal to make way for the silence, only in which a nightingale sings. Indeed, what else could it but the purple night descending? Thanks again for a magnificent poetic experience!

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  36. And there is no scream...Like a rabbits scream!
    Most haunting Hedgewitch.

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  37. a splendid read as it takes one back to childhood dreamscapes that shook us awake with their vividness.. a wonderfully spun tale as poem ~

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  38. Your imagery is always so well-crafted and in this one I especially love the colors you have woven into the descriptions.

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  39. I wish I could say this silently, but you're always my favorite Wednesday stop. (Dark, dark, dark... meaningful insight light-twisted undertone.)
    I dig.
    As always.

    Yours in words,
    Pounds

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  40. Splendid images put before us here...the purple night, the ashen sky, all such colorful creations you compile here. Dreamy and dark, a descriptive vision that smoothly draws us in, and leaves an almost haunting, ringing after effect. It sticks. Beautiful bit of writing.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg