New theory questions why we sleep

This same screech owl
was trilling at 4:00 p.m.
from across the field.

Water from the tap —
it’s still moving when I drink it.

I trembled like that once, too,
after days without sleep.
I felt invincible.

Gray fur spreads
through the coffee grounds.
I’m bleary-eyed again.

*

For Read Write Prompt #89: it came from the news.
(Update) Other responses are here.

Posted in

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

15 Comments


    1. Thanks. Me too, sometimes. But if I didn’t get REM sleep, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to write poems.

      Reply

  1. I like how each stanza takes note of a different physical sense (hearing, taste, feeling/trembling, sight). And, just like the man who can’t take a sleeping break, each physical sensation can’t take a break — the owl’s voice keeps trilling; the drinking water keeps moving; the body kept trembling; the eyesight keeps blurring. I’m glad I read this fine poem, but now I’m very tired.

    Reply

  2. Thank you, Dave. I try to leave specific, helpful, appreciative comments for as many RWP poets as I can. But if I get too “fancypants” :) with my comments on RWP, please let me know and I’ll dress down.

    Reply

    1. Oh lord no. I just wish I could do the same. Despite majoring in comparative literature, I never really learned the art of effective literary analysis.

      Reply

  3. Hi Dave,

    I agree with you about Therese’ analysis. I wish I could divine such points as readily. She has helped me to ‘see’ your poem.

    Reply

    1. Hay, glad you liked! Yeah, this was one of my favorite prompts in a while.

      Reply

  4. Great poem, Dave. I once went without sleep for several days and felt quite invincible. I don’t recommend it.

    Reply

  5. you mean to tell me i’m not invincible? so many naysayers.

    dave, i like how this leaps from image to image — the connections are subtle and powerful. yeah, what therese says. constant motion.

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Carolee. I don’t know about you, but this is a lesson I will probably never fully learn. I love sleeping, but I love all the stuff I can do when I’m awake even more.

      Reply

  6. Fantastic, Dave – it reads like a collection of really wonderful haikus laid one on top of the other.

    Reply

    1. Uh-oh, you’re on to me! It did start as a haiku series, yeah. Glad you liked it.

      Reply

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