Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thalia's Nocturne

Nattier, Jean-Marc - Thalia - 1739

Thalia’s Nocturne

Night’s  pearl mistress is away
so the sky is full of children playing
balanced  on their heads or toes
somersaulting in silver slippers,
staying up too late, hyperactively
forming up their line dances
on the autumn marbled wind
pretending there’s no bedtime 
as the ballroom’s  far horizon
closes in.

Your head should fit
here, love, over my heart 
under the dance
so you can feel that slow tide
ancient as Adam’s fall
your hair curling through my hand
morning glory fingers climbing my soul;
you’d raise your eyes to mine and the sky
with all its dancing brats would be a darkness
not of any interest
at all.

Instead I hear the 2 AM freight
stomping its feet on a rusty track,
a dyspeptic mastodon
rhythmically grunting
in guttural gastric distress,
plopping its piles
of audio dung behind it
as the chill of fancy’s fade
becomes forgotten
burbglow to the west.

There is no dignity
to this life, O I know
but  sometimes,
a laugh's
as good 
as a kiss.

October 2011

Image; Thalia, by Jean-Marc Nattier, 1739, oil on canvas
Jean-Marc Nattier [Public domain], via wikimedia commons


  1. nice...i do like you final line...laughter and kisses are both good but you have a point..

    rhythmically grunting
    in guttural gastric distress,
    plopping its piles
    of audio dung behind it

    nice vivid capture of a train taking a dump...errr...ewww...haha.really like the tenderness of the second stanza...

  2. Make me laugh under the moonless cloudless sky and I will always have someone to dance with, even a freight train, on tracks only used once a month.

  3. Especially when it births poetry - sometimes our myth-making can be so rudely interrupted our attempts to raise life to art thwarted by the night train of reality. More than anything however, my response to these gems born of cruel insomnia is empathy. I hope the monster has loosed its piercing maw and you are happily sleeping.

  4. This is an utter delight to read. The first verse so alive with fantastic images, the second so loving, then the coughing sputtering train. Wow, your writing rocks, kiddo. Such originality, so unique.

  5. I guess you've heard of laugh yoga, the latest fitness craze. You practice it just by laughing. Comes in handy when you're caught giggling when the fat old fart in front of you in yoga class attempts a wobbly Warrior's Pose ... Hey, I was just practicing my laugh yoga... This would be more of hoot if it were not for that the Paramour's head should be "here, love over my heart / under the dance" of sugarjacked starlight and is not. Instead, the speaker gets the bowelly toots of a passing train at 2 a.m. -- small consolation for the insomniac, but there's still love there, even in absence, the grace of the humane when all the world's asleep. And as you say, the old ones -- including the Paramour -- get some laugh yoga out of it. Fine poem, H. - Brendan

  6. Thanks all, glad you came by to share my sleepless night and partake of the ridiculous but also strangely sublime fruit with me.

    @Anna--Thanks for your concern, my dear. Yes, I finally got to bed. The insomnia doesn't bug me like it used to when I had commitments and tasks and drudgery waiting in store the next day. Sleep is a pleasant phenomenon, but I don't think I'd write a word without these all night sessions with Asteria,Thalia, my IP and company. Sleep is much sweeter with some scrawling under the belt.

    @B: Hadn't heard of laugh yoga--these New Agers will take advantage of anything--at least it sounds better than an obsession with nostril steam cleaning, scientology and enemas. Thanks for reading, my most humane of friends.

  7. Except that the "dancing brats" wouldn't make sense without the first stanza, the second stanza makes a fine poem all by itself. I love it, every word.

    And, "burbglow" is priceless.

  8. What a beautiful name for the moon, “pearl mistress.” You start me off in lovely imagery. And then the delights keep marching on. Those sky children! Who become brats when your love is in your arms (I love that). Then your penultimate stanza, with its sad decline and rust, but beautiful words audio dung and burbglow. And that last stanza, which perfectly finishes me whole, the upsidedownness of this life, and why we keep getting up in the morning.



"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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