Monday, July 18, 2011

they come at night

head on the pillow, i pick weeds
fingers encircling their necks,
at the base, by the soil's kiss,
for extrusion, but thin & fibrous
roots the color of life-
less flesh fight for their place

where does one cast these cares?

unbidden, unwanted, they bear
children, sprouting in endless
waves, laughing, teasing laug-
ter they dance round flowers,
like beltane fyres, sleep's pyre

where does one cast these cares?

they say i should count sheep,
letting them graize my mem-
brane...one, two..ten thousand
they bleet the names of things
needing done, weeds, weeds

undulating the sun comes, leav-
ing me undone, unable to garner
strength for life's guard-en,
watchtowers hollow eyes miss
the march of enemies, too late
the final cry, "The gates have fallen!"

written for Poetry Jam, for the theme Insomnia.

Up really late working on paperwork last night, I feel this one today. If you find me in a corner somewhere, wake me please. Smiles.

86 comments:

Daniel said...

This one got some word pictures fluttering in my head. I wouldn't have guessed what this was about had you not provided me a clue. Thanks, but I enjoyed my version nonetheless! Blessings.

kaykuala said...

Sure is tough, wanting to sleep but couldn't. One way, is to keep one's eyes open, even counting sheep, even in the dark. When the eyes get tired, hey presto! You would just fall to sleep. It worked for me.

Your verse is a classic!

wolfsrosebud said...

As a gardener I can relate, as I parents I can only guess, and as a poet I sense the poem can depict a multitude of things. Cast all you cares...

Magpie said...

This one really resonates with me Brian. You hit the nail right on the head! Where's the weed killer when we need it? :)

Valerie said...

Sleep avoids a whirling mind, yet poetry is born.

Heaven said...

the only thing that can keep me awake at night is the germ of a new idea or a new venture in my head, not weeds, nor cares.

i love your creative twist to the insomnia theme. weeds will now look different to me.

and yes, my original post about insomnia was longer but i chopped it up for 160 sunday but couldn't fit it. it would have been a 3 peat score.

happy monday ~

Mama Zen said...

I feel this one every day! The refrain is perfect.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Sheep do help to send one to sleep! I should know, lol.

CJ xx

AmyLK said...

HEY! You there! Wake up! lol I get frustrated when I can't sleep at night and then spend the next day in a stupor.

Hope your day goes quickly!

Janice said...

I so relate to this poem...unfortunately. Sleep has been elusive of late.

happygirl said...

I know this feeling well. Antihistamines take care of it. Counting sheep...lol, yeah, they are WAY too noisy. :)

Bonnie said...

We all spend much time in the dark "guard-en" of the mind - trying to weed out the looming threats - secure the gates - against imaginary enemies that seem so real.

You distill it all down in the most glorious of ways Brian. Somehow seeing it written removes some of its power.

You have so many projects on the go! Hope you find an opportunity to rest, restore and replenish.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Oh the second post I've read on insomnia, powerful! :) Sweet!

David Allen Waters said...

I adore how you are able to compare situations bringing them alive with words....

I stand in awe my friend

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah rolling around
No sleep to be found
Having to work
Even when sleep does lurk
Oh it's a pain
To tired to even pop a vein
But watch who you tell to wake you though
As some might slap you a little hard, just so you know..haha

Fred said...

Nice twist on counting sheep. Weeds are some nasty creatures, getting them out of cracks is a task that needs to be done, otherwise they'll spread and ruin a garden or a lawn. Like the metaphors in here, and the wordplay. Well-done

Manda said...

This has got to be one of my favorites... The imagery and truth of it resonates deep. Thank you for this great write!!!

Sue said...

Oh boy, I am feeling ya today.

I am definitely feeling ya.

"/

Mona said...

I can relate with that one...

Tabitha said...

What a nice way to play with insomniac thinking Brian - Fab.
I hope you'll catch some shut eye
soon..and hopefully not in a corner somewhere..lol

hedgewitch said...

As always, you go to the core, managing to come at it from fifteen angles in as many sentences. You've put so many symbols of restlessness, of being overwhelmed, of living amidst confusion, that one feels that amid the rubble of the fallen towers, weeds have somehow become the flowers.

I was up all night myself, so forgive if this is a bit babbly, and hopefully you'll get some rest at some point before the grand opening. ;_)

Help! Mama Remote... said...

Oh I wish I could literally pick weeds while my head was on my pillow!

Poetic Soul said...

I suffer from severe insomnia, usually I just lie awake but you've inspired me to write instead of counting sheep, or hot men

Claudia said...

hmm - sounds familiar...luckily it doesn't happen too often - usually i sleep like a stone - love the whole poem but esp. the last line - the gates have fallen - dang - what a closure!

Lolamouse said...

I feel for you and those with insomnia. I often have the opposite problem. I can't keep my eyes open at night!

She Writes said...

Love the line:
where does one cast these cares

insomnia and those words fit together all too well.

blueviolet said...

I hate when sleep is so elusive.

Daydreamertoo said...

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Umm... need some matchsticks? Prop those eyes open?
Your prose, is stark, raw edged and truthful. Lovely!

Helen said...

Your poetry is magic ... I, for one, hope you never sleep! Just kidding ...

Daydreamertoo said...

Oh, trust me, you have met Angels before. Live ordinary everyday ones, whose wings can't be seen because they are there to make you, think more deeply.
They're the ones that make you smile, even if you feel like smashing your head against a brick wall a few seconds before you see them. The ones that do something for you that you never expected and were so uplifted by that lovely surprise. The ones that take you from feeling sorry for yourself to thinking, at least I'm not as badly off as they are.
They Brian, are the angels that you say you have never met.
Our Angels don't all have wings on display.
Sometimes we too are someone elses' angel. I'm sure someone at some point in time has told you that you have been so helpful you are an angel and, maybe at that particualr time, you were!

Slamdunk said...

Good work Brian.

I rarely have probs sleeping and for that I am very thankful.

Baino said...

Ah really understand this one. Just had the worst night's sleep.

ayala said...

I feel this one on some days....I love the way you expressed it :)

Katherine said...

Well I would have to say in this case that you earned your sleepy time in the corner with all the business of your life at the moment & rather than wake you up I would be giving you a pillow to lay that creative mind of yours on... Mr Insomnia & I have been acquaintences off and on for many years now & for many different reasons... so I can relate! Loved your post!

Vicki Lane said...

What a terrific analogy! And I know from weeds!

Christine said...

Love the third stanza. Know the counting well.

Barbara Shallue said...

What a beautiful way to describe something so terrible. sigh. But you nailed it.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"Up really late working on paperwork last night, I feel this one today. If you find me in a corner somewhere, wake me please..."

Hi! Brian...
Your words have described very vividly, what a person who need sleep, but yet have to keep their eyes open in order to finish their task at...Sleep!

[postcript: Oops! in your last posm entitled:1SS/160 - Stolen Things I said, 55 words I meant to say 160 words. I'm so sorry!]
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

The Empress said...

I have never had insomnia.

I'm always too tired for insomania.

If they had a contest on who could fall asleep the fastest, I'd win.

Betsy said...

I had 3 nights in a row of this last week. Oh those weeds!...and they have really long roots, too. ha.

Steve E said...

Out mowing and pulling weeds today, and paying for it tonight. It's my back which will keep me awake--or put me asleep.

Where do I cast these cares? Well, I plan tomorrow's activities, full in knowledge that 'other' plans will substitute.

My weeds also "dance round flowers"
or maybe it's the flowers dancing?

As usual, Brian...as usual! It is a blessing to 'know' you!

KB said...

Wake up!

CM said...

This reminded me of dandelions and the constant battle to pick them/keep them out of our yard!

Hope you got some sleep!

That Janie Girl said...

Is that not the absolute truth?

Weeds.

Good stuff, Brian.

Margie said...

Wonderful imagery in this one, Brian.
Hope you sleep well tonight, sweet dreams!
I used to have a very bad case of insomnia about 7 years ago and it a heck of a burden!
Now I'm very, very thankful for my sleep!

Margie :)

Me said...

"Where does one cast these cares?"

That line gets me, the repetition gives me goosebumps...

farmlady said...

"where does one cast these cares?
unbidden, unwanted, they bear
children, sprouting in endless
waves, laughing,..."
They do come at night, they always come at night.
By day, these thoughts mingle with the business of life but at night they wrap themselves around you and don't let go.
My visions are snakes, not weeds, but they arrive all the same bringing fear and a sense of dread.
Take care....

ds said...

"Where does one cast these cares?"
On the shores of poetry...

Lucy Westenra said...

Little I can add, Brian! Great work. Thanks for yours on mine.

lori said...

undulating the sun comes, leav-
ing me undone, unable to garner
strength for life's guard-en,
watchtowers hollow eyes miss
the march of enemies, too late
the final cry, "The gates have fallen!"

Wow, this entire last stanza is powerful (and my favorite)! Oh, that feeling of being undone is hard to shake, and a sleepless night can bring a million cares to the surface. Really wonderful, and I hope you got some rest :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

One, two, ten thousand.... Been there, done that.

Terrific job. Hope you can get some sleep tonight.

jj

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Nice job! I have chronic insomnia and can really relate!

And thanks for your fun contribution to this week's Limerick-Off!

Jeff said...

May sleep and you become friends... Nice poem.

Lorraine said...

I get that...from what you do...and what I use to do, I can't sleep never could until I got a sinus condition, those nightime sinus pills, cured all my problems, but of course we all know that what gets you through the night might be just the thing that kills you in the morning

Jinksy said...

watchtowers' hollow eyes ????!!!!

Pass me the eyelid matchsticks, quick! Your sleepless managed to keep me awake while I was reading it though... lol♥

jen revved said...

For your screen shot collection, left at OSP yesterday, before I realized that I was witnessing a coup at others' expense: "Some of you know my penchant for speaking up when I have hurt feelings. I don’t think I’m alone in this– and in getting “cross-wise” with a few OSP people this year. I am personally hugely grateful to Leslie Moon for running the feature on Thursday that was scheduled by One Stop to run in May and then pulled. I re-apologize to the original team for getting so angry about this– and continue to believe that for a poetry site/meme to have credibility it needs to keep its commitments and not be swayed by issues unrelated to the site or its content. Some of us have short fuses due to disability. May the new endeavor, D’Verse Poetry Pub, not fall prey to impasse. I have begun a meme at http://parolavivace.blogspot.com modeled after One Shot Wednesday, Friday Poetry Fest; yesterday’s launch was a good beginning. Best of luck and thanks to Pete, Adam, Brian, Gay, Claudia, Chris and Leslie. We will all meet again. xxxJ"

Dave King said...

I found the image of sheep grazing the membrane - in either sense - very compelling.

SueAnn said...

Weed killer does not do it for me. They thrive on the stuff...I ask Joey (my helper) to dig and pull them out one at a time. Sigh!!
They weave their tendrils round my head!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Heather said...

nothing worse that being bright eyed at 3 a.m. - go grab a Bux to stay awake today! :)

Syd said...

I used to wake up with mind race at 3 AM. It took me years before I went to a doc for help. Stress, anxiety took its toll on my sleep. Since retiring, I sleep so soundly.

ladyfi said...

Oh, I do hate those late nights when troubles stay and sleep doesn't.

HisFireFly said...

Loved this! So very much comes at night...

Bagman and Butler said...

I love the refrain and the metaphor of garden weeds for insomnia night thoughts. Solidly constructed.

The Bug said...

Wouldn't it be cool if you could just pick the weeds, put them in a basket & be done with them, at least until morning? But NO, they have to be minutely examined & keep jumping right back out of the basket...

C.M. Jackson said...

know this feeling well--hope you were able to catch up on the zzz's --best c

MorningAJ said...

Oh I've been there! Very well described.

the walking man said...

Take a nap, 15 minutes will fix you right up Brian.

Laurie Kolp said...

Absolutely phenominal! Hope you get some rest soon.

haikulovesongs said...

i've had insomnia for years. literally. striking imagery in this, Brian. Love it!

azfree said...

For what it's worth, I lay awake some nights worrying about weeds, as in actual weeds ... in my garden ... one pesky weed in particular that keeps reappearing no matter how many times I pull it. I am not being metaphorical here. I'm totally serious. This is what keeps me up at night.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

The ever elusive sleep...oh how I long for it...

william said...

Ah I can relate to this man and it's awful. Sleep is food for the body.another great post. And thank you for always comin to my blog, u are appreciated mate.

Steve E said...

Oh Brian, you'll never know how MUCH i appreciated your crit. Reading other pieces here I feel I'm in an expensive poetry class--and, well...I AM! For FREE

Now, I've wondered often about your use of hyphens. Might I know your secret? I don't mean like the obvious good usage of 'in-line' ones. But those end-of-line such as 'lifeless', 'laughter', membrane, leaving. I tried reciting them as on same line, and even the beat sounds more 'in tune'--to me. (I feel like I'm critiquing GOD--grin!)

haikulovesongs said...

i thought the use of "weeds" as a metaphor for your cares, worries was quite striking. loved it!

{that's a metaphor, right? i'm so uneducated.}

Luke Prater said...

As often the case with your work, you have some wicked wordplay ('guard-en' for eg.) and a strong hand in aural poetic device that maintains the impetus - various kinds of rhyme, repetition, passages of strong rhythm almost rap-like. The repetition of 'weed' serves you well to underscore the theme.

I would quote some redundancy, small words (pronouns, articles, prepositions, that kind of thing), but the style you're writing in here demands their inclusion. I still think you could cut some of this and make it pack more of a punch by laying the essence barer. 'fine-tooth comb time' - always worth going thru once or twice asking if every word earns its place there on the page/screen.

Not much else to complain about here Brian, you're a fine poet and hard to fault. your work fizzes with interest and originality.

marousia said...

I loved the repeating line "where does one cast these cares?" The garden metaphor worked really well for throughout the piece too. I am not sure about the first line of the third stanza - I like the sheep counting but I ma not sure about "they". But that's OMO. Overall this poem strikes a strong chord with me as a reader.

thoughtsofapatcheduptraveler said...

Brian, is that you in the corner? I'll say this quietly as not to wake you. First, don't tell Luke I was here. Your link is an even number and those are his to crit. I just couldn't go past you without seeing what you had to offer. Sleepless nights are the longest, longer than Christmas Eve night as kids. Even worse if you are lying in bed just at the edge of sleep and can't pass into it, the whole while knowing that morning would demand attention all too soon.

Excellent poem. I enjoyed it immensely. As for crit, remember, you are even numbered today :)

Now, go back to sleep. Shhh...

Beth

oceangirl said...

hello brian, i always have problems commenting your posts, because i cannot repeat the same feeling of how amazed i am at how you bring forth the scene onto this blog page. the depths, the details, it can sometimes even be scary to me, like, brian knows:)

Goofball said...

I was picking weeds yesterday and some are so beautiful that I wonder who claimed they were "weeds" to be picked and thrown away?

In the afternoon we made a stunning walk through wild fields and I absolutely loved the high wild weeds flowering around me



I hope sleep comes sooner & easier to you

flaubert said...

Brian, I can't say this poem needs any improvement. Upon first read, it reminded of Soylent Green. Not sure why, but the first two opening stanzas brought the book to mind. I love this poem.

Pamela

Tom Eliot said...

Insomnia - the torment. You capture all the twists and turns of midnight fidgeting.

Writer and Poet said...

These cares are life-long companions. I really like the gardener perspective ~ Aida

zongrik said...

I didn't understand why you stopped saying, ""Where does one cast these cares?"

It started feeling like a Responsive Prayer Liturgy. It was making sense in that context, and then you just stopped doing it.

Any reason?

lynne said...

Insomnia is so not cool.. you have this great way creating stories within your poetry..

(Thank you for the crit on my poem.. much appreciated..
happy weekend Brian!

chromapoesy.com said...

encircling their necks,
at the base, by the soil's kiss,
for extrusion, but thin & fibrous
roots the color of life-
less flesh fight for their place

This sets the tone well but I stumbled on less, did you mean lest? It’s clever how you move from weeds and flowers to using the sheep to graze them and play on garden/guard-en watchtowers. Also, for me, I didn’t understand breaking laugh-ter and leav-ing. These are merely suggestions, overall it was witty and enjoyable.

tracy said...

Boy, I sure have been there and done that!