This was a poem that was almost forgotten. It was only a nagging feeling that I’d written two at the same time that led me to scour through a notebook to find it.
It’s another poem ‘inspired’ by not being able to sleep. As a teacher, I usually find that at some point in my summer holidays there’ll be a period of sleeplessness; probably a few nights in a row where I’ll get out of bed having not been able to sleep and sit downstairs or in our bathroom reading, wide awake for a good few hours.
This poem was written with another (see link below) a short while before we broke up for summer. I had a lot on my mind and having got up and written one poem, I found myself thinking about ways of getting to sleep. We were in the midst of a heat wave – in the UK we call it a heat wave whenever the temperature gets around 18 degrees or more – and it occurred to me that I could go and sit in the garden, despite the fact that it was around 1am. Maybe that would help me to sleep? However, as someone who sleeps naked, I’d gotten out of bed sans clothing and I thought it better to protect any late night curtain twitchers or unassuming neighbours with prying eyes. This skinny, hairy Geordie is not a naked sight for sore eyes. More a sight to make your eyes sore. Or make them burn.
Anyway, I found myself imagining heading outside, in the nip, as they say. Here’s the resulting poem.
Imagine... Imagine the shock of the chill night air against your skin, the delightful uncertainty of worn concrete on the souls of your feet, the sharp, silent stabbing pain of a stepped on pebble, invisible in the moonlight and the sheer relief as you sit in the damp, three week long grass. Sleep won't come so you take a risk, leave the house, not far this time, but sure of the knowledge that this place is yours alone, yet fully conscious of unseen terrors, alert to every noise, perturbed at the possibilities, yet aware that this was the final door to walk through. Imagine sitting in the grass, legs out beneath you, succumbing to a ridiculous sleep and waking maybe hours or even just minutes later, the sky slightly lighter and slipping back to bed while no one knows about the risk you've taken, about the barrier broken and the possibility of more.
Reading this back, it seems very much the product of a tired mind. It feels like a strange idea, but then again sleep deprivation can make people think and act in a strange way. I remember having the idea to go outside. Where we live is very quiet and so the only risk would be from wildlife (cats and insects mainly) and maybe if I’d been clothed I might have ventured out. In the end, having the idea and writing the poems that I wrote that night led me to sleep anyway.
Having read the poem back I’m very aware that I spelt ‘soles’ as ‘souls’. Now at the time of writing the actual poem, this was deliberate. However, looking back, I can’t quite put my finger on what I was aiming for with that line. I think it was that being out in the fresh night air would be good for my soul and so I was playing around with the idea of bare feet and their soles and the benefits to my ‘troubled’ mind at that time. However, I can’t remember specifically what was troubling me – at this point in time it could be one of a lot of things, as it’s not been a very kind last 9 months or so.
Regardless of seeing the poem as a little odd and not being able to fully remember some of the ideas behind it, this is one I’m actually pleased with. In short, I like the imagination behind it and the narrative aspect to it. I like the idea that it’s something I might well think about doing, but am very unlikely to actually go through with, however tame it may seem to some. Writing about it and creating something from it is the next best thing.
I hope you like the poem. Sorry about the unimaginative title (no pun intended). It’s something that I’m not getting any better at! Anyway, feel free to leave a comment as I always enjoy reading them.