Variation on the Word Sleep

Margaret Atwood

 
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
 
From Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood. Copyright © 1987 by Margaret Atwood. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

From an Italian Postcard Factory by Margaret Atwood
Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing by Margaret Atwood
The world is full of women
Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood
In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
This Is a Photograph of Me by Margaret Atwood
It was taken some time ago.
You Begin by Margaret Atwood
You begin this way:


Further Reading

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by Enomoto Seifu-jo
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A Bedtime Story For Mr. Lamb
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Dream Song 1
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Dream Variations
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His Heart
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it was a dream
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Separation is the necessary condition for light.
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