The Night Traveler

For the last few years I have suffered from periodic bouts of insomnia. This poem speaks about that experience:

Passing by, he could be anybody:
A thief, a tradesman, a doctor
On his way to a worried house.
But when he stops at your gate,
Under the room where you lie half-asleep,
You know it is not just anyone -
It is the Night Traveler.

You lean your arms on the sill
And stare down. But all you can see
Are bits of wilderness attached to him -
Twigs, loam, and leaves,
Vines and blossoms. Among these
You feel his eyes, and his hands
Lifting something in the air.

He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
It is windy and wooly.
He holds it in the moonlight, and it sings
Like a newborn beast,
Like a child at Christmas,
Like your own heart as it tumbles
In love's green bed.
You take it, and he is gone.

All night - and all your life, if you are willing -
It will nuzzle your face, cold nosed,
Like a small white wolf;
It will curl in your palm
Like a hard blue stone;
It will liquify into a cold pool
Which when you dive into it
Will hold you like a mossy jaw.
A bath of light. An answer.

Well, except that I continue to await an answer....


what great sensory detail, especially in that final stanza! i've come to consider such nightly visitations (they're only occasional with me) as gifts of some sort. i don't always know why they come, and sometimes i never figure out their purpose, but i always figure it's because i'm supposed to pray or see or hear or write or something.

here's wishing you the very best of sleep and rest tonight.
altar ego said…
This is beautiful. So many evocative images, senses, colors. I occasionally receive gifts during wakeful moments, but other times they are simply restless. Thank you for sharing this gem.

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