'UNQUIET SLUMBERS FOR THE SLEEPERS'

From 1998 until 2007, I worked in residential children's homes, some shifts, as in this poem, being through the night. They were unforgettable sometimes.

'UNQUIET SLUMBERS FOR THE SLEEPERS'


"
...and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."
(Emily Bronte, 'Wuthering Heights')


Night vibrates to the far-near saw & hum

of motorway & airport, now & then
gets gutted by high otherworldly screams
wrenched out of helpless animals
or those we dare not think about
for fear
they might be out there.

Mostly, though, this place
limps past
on crippling clocks, a creaking door,

low-volume late-night TV shows, a lonely
child's baby snores along the corridor,
the whispering nib occasional on forms
defining lives, routines, ourselves.

In daytimes, chaos kicks you from behind
or chucks a cup or sets off fire alarms
& runs away while telling you to go & fuck
yourself. At night, it sleeps the way that
children should, wrapped tight in cartoon
duvet covers, cotton wool & splayed
like spiders, limbs akimbo on soft beds
in rooms knee-deep in vital clutter.

Silence, here, is bought by tiredness

of every kind, not word or plastic panacea,
& through it, every night, I walk afraid
of waking them before the crashing
sound of one more day that really breaks.



(Wythenshawe/Trafford, 2005/7)

◄ Robert Burns meets Bigfoot

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