Fear leaves its mark
That later courage can’t efface; and still they teach as they were taught.
What do they understand about the dark?
The night’s for springing evil, sullen things that lurk.
Perhaps they knew this once, but in the lengthening years, forgot.
(And yet still feel a vague unease: fear leaves its mark.)
Can’t they recall night’s broken silences, how stark
Each alien sound? Recall the endless waiting for the things the night has brought?
Why can’t they understand about the dark?
They will not speak of things that wait or stalk;
They will not name the ones who have been lost
At night, or speak to those upon whom fear has left its mark.
Instead they’ll tell you to be brave; they’ll smirk
And say your fear is only in your thoughts.
Oh no, they do not understand about the dark.
And nothing that they say to do will work:
You cannot face, or fight, or flee. You cannot.
Fear lives outside you, and will leave its mark
On those who understand about the dark.
Fear dreams, and sleep makes dreaming real.
I do not like to rest. I stay up late.
From the inchoate room sleep builds, where syntax fails,
I know one day I’ll find I cannot wake.
Beast hallucinations claw my face
from inside, seeing now’s their chance:
the gate of sleep begun to swing, the beckoning escape.
Dreaming, dreaming makes them, makes them dance.
O does your living make no sound?
The world is large for you to see.
They fly who never touch the ground.
The dream shall pass: it was a dream.
What are the words I have not learned?
I stand before you clean, too clean.
The world has turned before, and turns;
I am unmoved, but fly in dreams.
(for Theodore Roethke)
We die of love, or anything at all.
I drew a million breaths, but could not sing.
My bones are of the earth, and heed its call;
I’ll dream a sun, and feed myself on ink.
Be still, be still: a color’s in my eyes.
What’s sleeping? Will I wake? Have I a soul?
This water’s cold. A stone does what it likes.
My breath is gone. The sea’s song fills me whole.