Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Dark's Feathery River

A book is a dream you hold in your hands.
~Neil Gaiman



Thank you to Richard Hedderman for giving me permission to share "Reading Yourself to Sleep" for Poetry Friday. Such beautiful imagery.

READING YOURSELF TO SLEEP
by Richard Hedderman

Eyelids flutter over the blank verse
of sleep. You brush the crow’s wings

from your face. The book, perhaps a collection
of Chekhov’s short stories, spills

from your hands and tumbles into the dark
as through still water, sinking

under the weight of words. You follow,
flumed like a spent swimmer,

happy for the long, quiet slide
into the book’s depths

and down into the dark’s feathery river.
The full moon, like the Pequod’s coin

weights your eyelids. Regret streams away
through the countless estuaries

of sentences until you finally let go.
Go ahead. The page numbers

will mark the way. The chapters
will toll the fathoms.


(Published in Front Range Review, 2015)

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Unexpected Intersections has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Elisabeth!

17 comments:

Linda Mitchell said...

OH, that's beautiful...so much sensory feeling of falling, drifting, swimming into sleep while reading. Love it.

KatApel - katswhiskers.wordpress.com said...

My hubby is always falling asleep - to books or the phone! Nodding off. That's him. I find it is such an odd (awful) feeling that I try to exit the book before claimed by sleep - though sometimes the eyes get dragging-heavy.

Janice Scully said...

Lovely, Tabatha. "Regret streams away/through countless estuaries/ of sentences until you finally let go." Thanks for sharing Hedderman's work.

skanny17 said...

Tabatha, I don't know Richard Hedderman and I am grateful for this introduction. I love falling asleep with a book (and I admit to doing this) and that luscious moment as you slip away; and as he says the book and you, "tumble(s) into the dark as through still water, sinking." This is one I would like to return to and use as a mentor. Wonderful and beautiful. Such luscious language.
Janet Clare F.

Karen Eastlund said...

Gorgeous poem, Tabatha. Thanks for sharing. I happen to be within 75pgs of finishing Moby Dick, so the Pequod coin is in my brain. Coincidence?

Linda B said...

Exactly how I feel at the end of the day, in bed ready to read until my eyelids will not remain open, that feeling of being "happy for the long, quiet slide". Thanks, Tabatha

Carol Coven Grannick said...

Exactly what it feels like reading in bed and falling asleep with beautiful words in my brain...

Margaret Simon said...

The dark's feathery river, love that image for falling into a book. I often wake up having dreamed a few pages into the book. Funny how our brains will continue the story.

Irene Latham said...

Oh this is quite lovely! It's hard to be fresh in a book-love poem, but this one is full of beauty and wonderful images. Inspiring! Thanks to both! xo

Robyn Hood Black said...

Love this, Tabatha - from one who is regularly jolted into sleep at the slip of a beloved book from my hands. ;0) (And, was just thinking about Neil Gaiman today - ha!)

Michelle Kogan said...

Wonderful poem Tabatha, thanks for inviting us in for its journey. I especially liked these lines,
"happy for the long, quiet slide
into the book’s depths

and down into the dark’s feathery river."

And thanks also for the Gaiman quote–here's to happily slipping off into that book…

Elisabeth said...

What rich, lyrical language! And what a wonderful topic for a poem. This is a new poet to me - thanks for the introduction!

Bridget Magee said...

This is my reality all too often, Tabatha. Seems Hedderman knows us well-intentioned (often exhausted) readers well. :)

Heidi Mordhorst said...

If we had thought of doing so, we would have written exactly this poem. So accurately it captures the wordly descent. I sink precisely as heavy as I float in real life.

mbhmaine said...

Oh, this is so lovely! I fall asleep reading almost every night. I love the language of falling and descent and how the book still guides us through it all. Thanks for introducing me to Richard Hedderman and this poem!

Mary Lee said...

Just reading this poem makes me relaxed and drowsy!!

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, this is just the right poem to relax me for a dreamy night's sleep. Peace to you.