Saturday Poem: Variation On The Word Sleep

I adore Margaret Atwood – she is one of those authors where I am so happy that I have not read all of her books because it means that I know that there is more to come.  Recently, I discovered this poem – I love the conversation it conjures up between two lovers – the idea of a shared dream world and also the lovely depiction of sleep itself.


Variation On The Word Sleep

I would like to watch you sleeping.
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.

Margaret Atwood

For past Saturday Poems, take a look at the archive in Poetry Please.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
(Visited 90 times, 1 visits today)

One thought on “Saturday Poem: Variation On The Word Sleep

  1. Another great choice of poem.

    I agree about Atwood, I suspect that many people don’t know she is highly regarded in Canada for her poetry as much as her novels and short stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.