I stood at the edge of my child’s sleep
hearing her breathe;
although I could not enter there,
I could not leave.
Her sleep was a small wood,
perfumed with flowers;
dark, peaceful, sacred,
acred in hours.
And she was the spirit that lives
in the heart of such woods;
without time, without history,
I spoke her name, a pebble dropped
in the still night,
and saw her stir, both open palms
cupping their soft light;
then went to the window. The greater dark
outside the room
gazed back, maternal, wise,
with its face of moon.
Without sounding trite and then perhaps I do, the poem reminds me of that song by some chap with a difficult name to spell: ‘Where do you go to my lovely..’ with the vaguely Parisian music which was once a massive hit on Radio 1.
Captures the heart stopping wonderment of the mother’s relation to her child. The ‘awayness ‘ of sleep all the more enchanting for its uncomplexity and naturalness than the more ‘thorny’ aspects of adult slumber.
I love the delicacy of this poem: ‘ I stood at the edge of my child’s sleep’..as the adult hangs back from the perfection of this tableau…as if the sleep has become a whole world whose words are so very different from those of the adult. The poet who is also a mother elides the sleep with some Shakeperean Arden where magical things happen and time becoems something fluid, tender, mystical.
Lovely detail with the hands embracing light. Defencless purity of their transcenedent beauty.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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