from the grief at the center of your dream

I like to frequent poets.org and plagiarist.com for my daily dose of poetry, which is unusual for me since I don’t like reading in non-book form, but online sources are varied and readily accessible.

I came across this next poem after hitting the random poem link on plagiarist.com. Its use of repetition has a powerful hypnotic effect. Sometimes, writers feel like they need to use different synonyms to show their rich vocabulary, and I’ve been told, You’ve already used this word in the preceding lines. However, the trance-like quality of the poem calls for it. It’s a poem that cradles and soothes.

Variation on the Word Sleep, Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

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