Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poem a Day, April 21

April 21, 2009





insomnia


I was five, maybe six, awake
far beyond my bed time, staring
at the ceiling, the fading outlines
of glow-in-the-dark stars.

But more, that familiar ceiling
felt miles away, my body
small and fragile, as though
I were somewhere deep behind
my eyes, gazing as from a distance.

I would call for my parents
and be told, my mother's soft
hand on my forehead, "Go to sleep,
now, you just have a slight fever."

After the first few times I quit
calling for them, surrendered
to the sense that I barely existed,
felt reduced to atoms of my self,
suspected the whole universe
was something other than what
I had been taught in Sunday School.

It wasn't exactly scary, more lonely,
isolated, disconnected from flesh,
adrift in space, no umbilical holding
me safe, nothing holding me.

When I was about nine, the feeling
stopped, I was anchored.
Years later, sitting in a retreat, knees
aching, back aching, head aching,
my mind went back to that place,
my self shrinking, fragile, a shadow
of who had walked through the door.

That day on the cushion it all
came flooding back, and more.
Perhaps it was fever,
it has never happened again.

Looking back now, all these years
removed, feeling even more distant
from that child, I want
to reach back and hold him,
tell him to relax
into the feeling,
it is safe, just feel
yourself in space,
no form,
no emptiness,
just this.



2 comments:

D a r i n a said...

returning memories, resonating with experiences, reclaiming the child, reliving the truth, relishing the expression & returning to This while reiterating support for the poem a day :)

WH said...

thanks Darina!