Thursday, February 24, 2011

exposition of sleep

Gone is the late,
languid dream, the lazy
misdirected energy, closely-shaved
armpits, gaped hungry and pink,
deep past the alarm.

The crepe-strewn sphinx, hollows
now filled and tapped, easy
with a new eye, punctual
as a cuckoo clock,

does not take much room
in bed, but sleeps rolled
in a ball, a pendulum steeped-quick
and pulled-out, like a teabag. 

Tess Kincaid
February, 2011

Would you like me to read it to you?


  1. I miss the youthful days when, on a weekend or holiday I could stretch out and sleep till noon, if I wanted. Now, I'm wide awake, like clockwork, in the wee hours with the chickens (and we don't even have chickens).

  2. Me, too, Tess. I used to sleep like the dead at the drop of a hat. Now it's Melatonin and Ambien just to get to sleep and then I wake after 4 short hours and usually read for a few hours till dawn.

    I love your header. It's beautiful.


  3. Ah yes, my husband can sleep like this. He is out when his head hits the pillow and I have to drag him out every morning. I take forever to fall asleep and yet I pop up by at least 5:30 every day. Sleep till noon sounds so lovely but I know if I did, it would stress me out :)

  4. Well, maybe we have one large chicken. Even though I wake early these days, I'm not a true morning person, like someone else at the manor. This particular person, who shall remain unnamed, catapults out of bed, whistling Dixie every single day of his life. Not so, with me; I'm in auto-mode for my first half hour. I can walk downstairs, but cannot speak, much less whistle, until well after I've had my morning tea.

  5. And we are even united by pendulums!

  6. Alan, I can't believe you include "pendulum" in your post title today. What kind of crazy synchronicity is that?

  7. What has happened, yes you speak of how it used to be, now I can't wait. I am "driven" to start the day, not to wast a minute. So much to do. Like the mad hatter, I wonder....where have the lazy days of summer gone?

  8. Ys, your header. I spoke to you before about The New World. I saw it was on TV again, and just wished I had time to watch. I hope you have seen it. It is a beautiful film.

  9. I often think the reason my husband and I get along SO well is because we both can sleep till noon if given the chance. The chance rarely arrives...

  10. Tess!
    Ohhh... great minds!

    I recently wrote this piece, entitled "Saturday Morning Bed Sheets," on the same topic:

  11. [another line, another great lines over the horizon, full of possibilities]

    great hug, Tess

    Leonardo B.

  12. I used to come bleary-eyed into the living room at 11:30 on a Saturday morning after Dr. M had given up on me & started making breakfast, but not anymore. And even if I do manage to stay in bed until the indecent hour of 10:00 I feel like poo the rest of the day.

    Usually I do sleep very well, if not as late as I used to. But last night I had a VERY restless night (dreamed my dead mother was in prison, for one thing), and I wondered if this is a sign of things to come.

  13. Oh, how I miss them, too. Just once, I'd love to sleep in! wonderful poem, Tess!

  14. I totally feel this! I've been dealing with insomnia for so long now. I definitely feel "steeped-quick and pulled out" as dreary and dull as a wet tea bag every day. So, I identify with the longing for a "late, languid dream." Thanks!

  15. Amen. I'm finding it hard to sleep past 3 a.m. these days. The exposition is backward, looking at it from waking's shore ... and the sphinx is the dream? Buried now under the clutter of consciousness, no longer able to lead the way through the dark. Not, at least, til sleep comes again ... - Brendan

  16. Willow's bedroom - revisited! One of my favorite Magpie photos ever. The older I grow, the less sleep I require!

  17. I would have loved to hear you read this, but the audio gadget doesn't respond. It may well be sleeping.

  18. Today I could have slept till noon the body wants it so bad but the mind say no way jose! I too can't say a word until I have had coffee. Oh and when I wake up really tired I am giddy, silly and everything makes me laugh.

  19. I'm definetly not a morning person, either. I love to sleep in, and count the days until I get a morning to do so. I also live with one of those morning lovers : )

  20. I love the armpit metaphor. Perfection!

    I am an early riser but not an early talker or doer. Just leave me alone to sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.

    Is that your bedroom? To have a sky light above the bed ... how glorious!

  21. Pulled out like a teabag is genius!

  22. long lingering days in bed....blissful

  23. Why must our beds be so ridiculously inviting?! :)

    Great piece.


  24. Dear Willow, I feel rather blessed that I can still sleep the 'day round' if needs [or the opportunity] be. This is a great asset when travelling by bus from London to Budapest which I do frequently. The 27 hour journey goes by more satisfactorily when one can sleep for hours on end!!

  25. That's a terrific poem - and yes, I miss the days when I could sleep 'til whenever. Oh well...

    Tess - you have a way of making nebulous ideas become strong, vibrant visuals!

  26. my teenage manboy sleeps past noon when he wishes. i wake at six thirty no matter what. i wonder why. i know i need the sleep! steven

  27. "Manboy". Hehe, Steven, I love that word.

  28. Oh, and that's what it's like when I'm ABLE to sleep!

    Insomnia was the topic of my blogpost today...there seems to be something amiss in dreamworld of late.

    Beautifully written and read, Tess.

  29. this was my day today. Couldn't separate from my bed at all.

  30. Edith, 27 hours on a bus is one helluva long journey. I'm glad you are able to sleep to make the time pass more quickly.

  31. "The crepe-strewn sphinx" I can see it!
    Nowadays, falling asleep in an instant..but not dawn I must jump up as if I have energy for the illusion!

  32. i miss the weird dreams of my deep youthful sleeps, too. I like the languid flow of this one.

  33. Oh chickens were starting to complain...go figure!

  34. lovely image of the late sleeper. myself, always been an early riser and still am however not whistling.

  35. Love this kind of poem. It’s been a while since I ignored the morning clock.

  36. Just mention--even THINK--the word "sleep", and I am already asleZZZZzzzzzzzzz..............

  37. wow, Tess i simply can't tell you exactly how much i have enjoyed the poem ...could relate to it ...and also loved all the interesting comments and interactions that followed. :)

    For Steven, with whom i have never interacted before - I am mighty thankful to you for helping with a new word - manboy. how i loved it :D; have one at home.

  38. I relate to the poem so well Tess. Gone are the days! Though I am a morning person I'm only bright eyed and bushy tailed after the first cup of coffee in bed.

  39. I'm not a morning person Monday to Friday but I annoy the sh.t out of my wife by waking early on Saturdays and Sundays ready for a day of play. She's the opposite. Ahhhhh. the mystery of compatibility. Nice poem tess.

  40. Love your poem, Tess! I have the opposite problem-can't drag myself out of bed in the morning but find I wake up around 11 pm and want to write. This doesn't sit well with the husband, who wants a little couple time before he dozes off at night!

  41. Hi! Willow...
    What a beautiful poem...voice too!
    What a beautiful image...Your header!
    On a very simplistic and beautiful blog.
    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

  42. Great poem! Because of the sphinx rolled into a ball, I thought you were talking about a cat (mine sleeps in my bed, alternately in a ball and stretched out like a tea bag). She doesn't shave her armpits, though. 8-)

    Was your (mis)spelling of "cuckoo clock" intentional?

  43. Marcheline, yeah, I kinda liked the coo-cooyness of this spelling.

  44. lol, I too live this poem you have rendered so well.

  45. Great piece with the armpits and teabag images...I read this as I type in my bed...and going to fetch another coffee...I had the chicken mornings...but they were in youth and there was never sleeping in with pigs to feed and rock to be picked, so I am enjoying that now...bkm

  46. Ugh, me too. I have TRIED to sleep in ...cannot. We have a rooster across the field from us and he crows at 6 PM, so I cannot even blame him!

  47. loved the poem...and i REALLY loved hearing your BEAUTIFUL voice....lovely

    happy weekend, my friend

    kary and teddy

  48. I am the same....I cannot usually oversleep , & when I do it gives me backache!

  49. Once upon a time, when the
    world was busier, I popped off
    to bed at 8 pm and rose at
    3 am, so that I could be first
    at the office, and get my reports
    in order, and then settle in to
    several hours of blogging and
    writing. I have been retired for
    six months now, no, seven,
    and my night owl days are
    gone, departed, cursed with
    a senior metabolism, and
    a shifted epicenter. I can stay
    up until midnight some nights,
    watching films, writing, scrap
    booking, but at 7 to 8 am I
    have to rise, as unfresh as
    morning breath and winter
    woolies. But the old internal
    clock is a magnificent addition
    to our machine. I did not have
    to use an alarm for over 20 years.

  50. I miss the luxury of the easy sleep of youth. I miss being able to lie in bed until 10 and not feeling the ache of it in my bones. I miss restful deep sleep.

    Hearing birds singing at dawn is nice though.

  51. I love this... and it makes me long for my bed cocoon. Thank you for sharing, and reading! One of the great pleasures of any age is to be read to, and you do it so well.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)