Our Forgetting

Dear Dave,

June light lengthens, pulled like string
from a ball of twine, or like days
in the far north, strands of hair so thin

night doesn’t come for months at a time.
With light that long, the eyes and the soul
must grow tired, as must the grasses

and flowers that emerge all at once.
We are made for motion and rest.
To be awake for days on end and then

to sleep, to sleep: it must be like climbing
down a shaft in the earth, dark crumbling,
then collapsing, until you find the edge

of the river that runs far beneath the ground:
waters undetectable to the eye, felt more
through the sound they carry than the caress

they finger over the soft skin on the inside
of the wrist. It is this kind of sleep
none can resist: why we disrobe, slide leg-first

into its current, blackness bearing more
than our bodies, our forgetting
of what continues well above our heads.

—Todd Davis

Series Navigation← Letter from Midsummer

4 Replies to “Our Forgetting”

  1. A real, even excellence throughout, and a real joy to read and read.

    in the far north. Strands of hair so thin

    Yeah. And what fun to say and say:

    felt more
    through the sound they carry than the caress

    they finger over the soft skin on the inside
    of the wrist. It is this kind of sleep
    none can resist: why we disrobe, slide leg-first

    into its current, blackness bearing more
    than our bodies,

    All those ss’s and st’s, and the just-right imagery.

    Happy solstice!

    1. Peter,

      Thanks so much for relishing the language. There are poems where sound usurps sense (although in the usurpation let’s hope that some sense still survives). I had fun playing with the words to this one, swirling them around on the tongue and lips.

  2. Michelle,

    Glad a poem could help you linger near the edge of sleep and then allow you to drift away on its current.

    I usually am reading a poem by a favorite poet–Galway Kinnell or Jane Kenyon–before drifting into sleep’s dreaming kingdom.

    Thanks for reading,

    Todd

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