Variation on the Word Sleep

Try reading this poem aloud to appreciate it fully and get into it’s rhythms.  It’s up to you to decide whether you like it or whether it evokes other feelings.

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 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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