Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday – Variations on the Word Sleep by Margaret Atwood


Today’s Poetry Friday is being hosted by Julie Larios at The Drift Record. While we have posted originals from Fats and Mary during the past three weeks, these two ladies seem a tad busy at the moment so I would be sharing with everyone my favorite poet of all times, Margaret Atwood. Most people know her as a novelist, but there are several who are not aware that she also writes poems. One of my favorites is her Variations on the Word Sleep.

Surprisingly, I found this poem posted on a glass door in a hotel in Robson Street in Vancouver while I was there August of 2009. And I thought that it was such an inspired idea for a hotel to have this poem out there in the glass walls, and so I took a picture.

Taken in Robson Street, Vancouver Canada

In the event that the text is not that easy to read, here it is. Enjoy Poetry Friday! Check out other poems from Julie’s round-up post.

Variations on the Word Sleep by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
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 beathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary. 

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “Poetry Friday – Variations on the Word Sleep by Margaret Atwood

  1. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to the First Half of the Year, Our June Round-Up |

  2. Pingback: Here Comes the End of July: A Round Up |

  3. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Atwood’s A Women’s Issue «

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