Saturday, May 26, 2007

For Karin

Insomnia
by Billy Collins

Even though the house is deeply silent
and the room, with no moon,
is perfectly dark,
even though the body is a sack of exhaustion
inert on the bed

someone inside me will not
get off his tricycle,
will not stop tracing the same tight circle
on the same green threadbare carpet.

It makes no difference whether I lie
staring at the ceiling
or pace the living room floor,
he keeps making his furious rounds,
little pedaler in his frenzy,
my own worst enemy, my oldest friend.

What is there to do but close my eyes
and watch him circling the night,
schoolboy in an ill-fitting jacket,
leaning forward, his cap on backwards,
wringing the handlebars,
maintaining a certain speed?

Does anything exist at this hour
in this nest of dark rooms
but the spectacle of him
and the hope that before dawn

I can lift out some curious detail
that will carry me off to sleep --
the watch that encircles his pale wrist,
the expandable band,
the tiny hands that keep pointing this way and that.

5 comments:

pj said...

What a wonderful description of insomnia. It's almost endearing, isn't it? That's why Billy Collins is Billy Collins. :)

lj said...

Endearing is a good word for Billy. I imagine him as the fun uncle at the family reunion. He has a very fun new dog poem that I might have to post over at OCICBW ... if the dog silliness continues.

pj said...

A Billy Collins dog poem would be very popular over there, I'd think!

Diane said...

I like Billy Collins poetry too. thanks for your commments over at my blog lj. I'll look up Joyce Hollyday's book. I know a little of her from Sojourners. Inspiration can't hurt.

Diane said...

I see you're just beginning too. It's great to see someone who reads and knows poetry. I find that sadly rare.