Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Hourlass Of Crowded Demons


The Hourglass Of Crowded Demons








With every
grain that pits my sleep 
a demon falls, sliding past 
his subatomic twins
down the chute 
of  another
narrowing night
to rattle in a pail of dreams
that rouse themselves and shake,
wet cerberi of dullness or desire
carrying each his bleached 
memory-bone to the fire.




~January 2015














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Kerry's Weekend Mini-Challenge: Word Substitution

Kerry O'Connor (Skylover, Skwriting ) once again picks two titles in her mental shellgame of word substitution, asking us to make something appear where least expected. (In the spirit of the mini-challenge, I have made this one quite mini.)

Apology: I just realized as I was tweaking this I changed the original title which was The Hourglass of Dreaming Demons--sorry Kerry. I did keep the dreaming part, tho.







Images: Top: The Hourglass Nebula, (" MyCn18, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away, taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).) by Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger (JPL), the WFPC2 science team, and NASA/ESA" ) Source
Bottom: Skull Hourglass, by Brynhilder on deviantArt, shared under a Creative Commons License.


22 comments:

  1. I love the hourglass shape of the poem, and what conjures a restless night better than an hourglass filled with demons and cerberi? Those doggies don't just want to play, do they?

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  2. Whew! This is powerful stuff. I adore the title and the hourglass shape but the words themselves never miss a beat as the sand runs out.

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  3. The insomnia captured in the hourglas is just brilliant.. and using that cerberi word.. I would not want to have any such canines in my bedroom at night. I like how you found that fiery hourglas nebula to accompany the poem..

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  4. kinda freaky...especially that last bit...the cerberi was a strong image with each carring their memory bone to the fire....strong imagery that plays well with watching those minutes crawl....

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  5. The flow is just great... and I resonate with the experience. Last night was just like this. Powerful verse.
    -HA

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  6. Hey Joy--at first I was wondering about those twins--why the one passing twins--but then I came to the Cerberi (my computer keeps changing it) and everything fit so perfectly--I could absolutely picture that three headed dog shaping his head wet and tired--

    I like the beginning here especially with the grain and pit that feel like almost synonyms and opposites here--both seeds in a way though of course pit has so many other meanings--but I felt like the grains of sand that were pitting the sleep were also seeding the sleep--pits (like of fruit) as well as digger some deep emptiness, you know, of sleeplessness. I myself am terribly tired at this moment and my words may not be coherent---I like the idea of pail pale bleached bone--I can't help but always think beyond the pale--sorry to be so tired, not making sense-- It's not your poem doing it to me! (Ha.) K. (Manicddaily and all the rest of it.)

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    1. You do sound tired, k. Thanks for reading despite that, and forgive my late response--the weather is allowing some gardening, and I am in the midst of several outdoor projects, which like you, leave me a bit tired--I love your idea of the grain and pit having double meanings--as indeed they do--I was fumbling with choices for both those words and those were the final result, more fortuitous than deliberate, but I do think that's how my brain works with this stuff, ad I really appreciate having you around to point it out. Hope the rest of your week goes smoothly..

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  7. "down the chute of another narrowing night to rattle in a pail of dreams"....wow, Joy, brilliant!

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  8. You've got some really good contrasting words here: like sleep, night and dreams. Or even the desire and fire. This is a nice read.

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  9. This one bites, bones to the fire ~ Good one HW ~

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  10. Even had I not seen the top of this post, I would have guessed it was one of yours. A great blend of the dream world with the sharp edge of that which should keep us awake and wondering.
    Steve K.

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    1. Thank you Steve. This was one of the easy ones, which are all too few these days.

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  11. I love the sounds of this poem: the rattling, the falling of sand... So much movement; so many chances for something to happen/change...

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    1. Yes, something has to clear out those memory bones so there is room for other stuff. Thanks, Magaly.

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  13. This piece is a bit haunting. Many years a go I dreamed nothing but nightmares. I don't know how I survived it.

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  14. Those dang Greeks were sure spot-on about observing psyche in the mythical heavens -- your (our? the universe's?) Hourglass Nebula perfectly images the portal / sphincter / center of the labyrinth where the external world transmutes into our innerworld. Makes me think that sleep is to dream what ferryman Hermes is to Tartarus, the essential question here in this poem being who is next to be fed to the fire? Which memory, which bone shall be burned next in the maker's fire? The image makes me wonder if heart and art are tandems of the same torture, the same desperate attempt to save something from the flames, as Dionysos was rescued from his immolated mother Semele when Zeus sewed the embryo into his own thigh and brought him to term. The image here of the hourglass -- where time slows to a grain-by-grain pass the harrows of waking into sleep -- is a perfect one for sleepless discontent. Is sleep banished by fear of all the demons crowing in the crowded boat just under one's bed--or is it the ferryman's odd second fee, the cost of premature raids on the inarticulate, robbing the dream's guilty Peter to pay art's Paul? I stretch here, but the eye in the middle looks both ways at once, and the perilous cross of insomnia is also a gift--a wakefulness that remains fixed, like a compass. At least for the next poem, which sometimes I think cares for our welfare as much as those damned dreams do ... Dionysos was one of the harrowers of hell, returning to Tartarus to rescue his mother Semele and install her up on Olympus where she became the muse of his frenzies. The cerebi in the reverse gaze look like angels. At least, their gaze, those burning bones, are holy ... Anyhoo, fully enjoyed, the image was perfectly employed.

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    1. Thanks, B. A much more thoughtful response--that probably took longer to write--than my poem, which sort of spilled out from its title. I don;t have that sort of spontaneity very often, so I went with it, but I don't know that it is worthy of this essay on the hell of the mind which we are flung into when we plunge in to swim the nightly Styx of sleep to that other brimstone side. Appreciate the sidelight on Dionysius and his dysfunctional but fire-hardened mother, and I agree--these poems don't care much for anything, except for somehow finding their way out, if they have to burrow out through our brains like wood-borers.

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  15. This hourglass insomnia is brilliant.

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  16. Turned upside down, time and demons slip through to the other side - just can't help but think that glass had better never break! Oh, to be afraid of sleep (or dreams) - that is an awful thing.

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