JUST BEFORE SLEEP                                                                                                                 

I close my eyes and, most times, feel

the watching dark lean over us, breathe

deeply in, blow long, slow rings of

sleep across each grateful brow, then

wrap our limbs around with silken sheets,

two cocooned souls prepared for night.


So soft the silks, so firm the threads,

I cannot say I stay abed or float

among the tops of trees; there is but

black, I cannot halt the unravelling of any

web spun overnight – those about in early light,

of dewy gossamer, while they do delight,

are of the magic of the day, like you, but

when we sleep, do we touch or turn away?


Some nights before we shut day down

we talk a little – just a little – I hear the words

but see no trace of tenderness as you will not

acquiesce in eyes unveiling – though, to be clear,

while I do not doubt your gentle voice,

your eyes are as the soaring of the swallow to

the singing of the speckled lark; let neither leave,

you house them both inside your heart.


You tell me I’m too quick, too hot,

not considerate enough of differences.

And you are not convinced when I say

I am man and cannot refine or re-define

all of me; I may learn to love the

pruning of a tree but do not raise the axe or

push the saw to loose the trunk from root,

the sap from bough (that’s not all of love, anyhow).


Is there time to find a few more

moments of the day or night to share

a simple, single act of deep devotion?

For each to say, despite the way

today has gone, I’ve shared with you

the best, the worst, the in-betweens of

all my sorrows, joys it seems I’ve spared you from –

till now, our time to reconcile.


I close my heavy eyes and lie, flat-backed,

upon the bed. Instead of calling sleep to do

its work, I shirk its numbing ministrations and

whisper in your ear it’s time for us to learn to

love and state and celebrate this love – and, one day,

maybe dream together to the end.

◄ WHY?



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John Marks

Sun 9th Sep 2018 16:46

Conjoined in dream - a resolution devotedly to be wished for Peter. Puts me in mind of Robert Browning's poem 'Andrea Del Sarto' from his 1855 collection 'Men and Women' and, particularly,"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

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Chris Armstrong

Tue 4th Sep 2018 14:52

That's lovely - very touching. Perfect measured words

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