Sleepless

Sleepless I dream a waking dream

Awake, alert, and ambivalent

I submit to the holy dark.

I cough, therefore I am… awake, sitting up

Steroids keep you awake did you know?

Wheezing and coughing, while others snore

I could write a song but it’s been done before

So I write and write and write some more.

Now I’m rhyming, is that bad?

Perhaps it’s just a fad

But who cares what I shares (ok that’s bad)

Can’t stop, not a jot, not a little or a lot

Help I’m in a rhyming loop

and where it stops I do not know…

[written at 2:30am one sleepless night]

Maybe I’m delirious? I’d like to say I’m tired, but I’m not. So I might as well write something.

I’ve written poetry most of my life, it was a way of expressing fun in birthday cards and later to express teen angst. I have never liked prewritten cards gushing with sentiment that doesn’t echo anything I feel, so I invariably write my own.

I rarely kept my angsty poems and never shared them, except the fun ones in the cards of course.

I’m braver now and I care a lot less what others think, so if I can’t find a story to write, but I have an idea, or an urge, I write poetry. It’s not poetry that sticks to rules.. it’s not haiku, although I have written those for fun. It’s just me and a pen using words that only make sense to me.

There is something that happens in the human soul when it resonates with the words of another. Somehow the words themselves wriggle into our heart and find a place that responds, redeems, resurrects and repairs.

Like looking at a painting in a gallery. Seeing the colours the artist chose, the brush marks, the medium, even the size of the piece. It touches something somewhere deep within if we allow it.

I imagine the artist standing in front of the easel, poised with a brush in their hand as they gaze at the view or the model or the picture in their head. What were they thinking and why did this matter to them? Did they like the painting when it was finished or did they move quickly on to the next. Frantic to follow the creative thread.

Songs do that to me too. I listen to the lyrics and wonder why they wrote those words. What were they going through that inspired them to jot it down and set it to music. Did they tell someone about their idea and have to overcome critics and the crushing doubt that plagues us all. How did they keep going and get it out there into the world so that others could hear it?

Now, when I write, it is because creativity matters deeply to me. My inner and outer critics have kept me dumb for a lot of my life, or at least hidden.

We may not be talented in the eyes of others or even ourselves, but we must express that which lies within us. If not, it will invariably find a way to be heard.

One of the stories I loved, as a child, was the story of the King who had donkeys ears. It was a huge secret. The version I heard told of a traveling musician who found out. (I can’t remember how) He was sworn to secrecy. The musician promised to keep the secret but found it impossible. The secret wanted to be told. So he dug a hole and told his secret into the hole and buried it. Some reeds grew up and the next year the musician, once more passing through, cut some reeds and made them into a flute. He performed for the palace in front of the whole court. When he began to play, the flute sang “the king has donkeys ears. ”

I don’t remember the ending except that the king was angry and the musician was in deep trouble.

I thought about that story a lot growing up, it impressed me to keep a confidence when I’m asked to… and not to play the flute. I’m kidding about the flute part.

I also learnt that if something wants to be heard, it will find a way. That includes poems, songs, stories, paintings and every other creative outlet. When art looks for an opening, it finds a receiver.

I have had ideas that I’ve sat on over the years, only to see them appear in a shop as a product or as a play or a movie. I’ve heard songs that I didn’t write but thought of…

When inspiration comes knocking, we need to welcome it in. If not it will move on like the wind.

“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” Jesus.

I guess having a cough and being kept awake by horrid medicine has been an opportunity to feel the spirit of creativity and make use of the time I have, but now…

‘To sleep, perchance to dream.’ Shakespeare

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