I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

31 January 2016

Nightmares Wide Awake

In a long cast of moonlight,
the ghosts stood guard at my door.

In the dark around my bed
whispering voices gathered.

I was frozen, paralysed.
Only my mind could resist.

Hours of mental wrestling:
Don’t fall asleep, don’t succumb!

I made a shield. It was real.
I made it with my mind.

I kept it solid all night,
keeping the whispers out –

and the whisperers, and even
the tall, silent ghosts.

All the years of my childhood
the nightly visitors came.

They made me deep and secret.
They made me stubborn and strong.

















from an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
(Please do not reproduce this image.)



Written for the Sunday Mini Challenge, How about the nightly visits? 
at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #287.


39 comments:

  1. I like the idea that the nightmares made you stubborn and strong! Ha, I think this is the best one could hope for with nightmares!

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  2. This is chilling...the night visitors!! The feeling of this is palpable...nice!

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  3. I think my sister also had nightly visitors--they do make you strong!

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  4. Hey Rosemary, this is very effectively told, and psychologically real. One has a great sympathy for the speaker. Thanks. k.

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  5. Wow, Rosemary, that must have been frightening for a child. But you knew to erect a shield. I love that they made you stubborn and strong.

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    1. Erecting a shield is (unfortunately) all too necessary in this world. Maybe someday the need will disappear, and I hope it does, but for now...

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  6. "I made a shield. It was real.
    I made it with my mind."

    I LOVE those two lines so much. Perhaps because I believe in them, perhaps because I know of souls made "stubborn and strong" and glorious! ♥

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  7. I love how you get stronger by the dreams, but it's still a hard thing to cope with for a child.

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  8. Traumatic but, eventually, rewarding.

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  9. I really like the way the nightmares built up resistance to fear. The last two lines are very powerful.

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  10. They made me deep and secret... wow! Nicely written.

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  11. Such a positive outlook on nightmares, I too like the idea of nightmares making us stubborn and strong :) Beautifully executed.


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  12. Each of us has a secret world where we can find safety. How we gain strength from adversity. Beautifully written.

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  13. I love the progression and growth in this piece..it is true that the things we fear often make us stronger as we learn to cope with them..i love the notion of making a mind shield...yes..often the best way to handle both reality and nightmares and to form and protect ourself..

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  14. An excellent close that wrings the most from both the poem and the experience described.

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  15. Ha - I had a visit last night as I tossed and turned. I finally gave up and listened to the whisper.

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  16. ah those whispers, we do have to keep strong minded, or they will run our lives, they are such control freaks

    have a good Sunday

    much love...

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Colleen, apologies – I accidentally deleted your nice comment while trying to reply on my tablet, and can't see how to restore it. I was replying only to your throwaway line, that I've chosen a funny photo to end with. I like to use photos when I can, so that when I link to my posts on facebook, the link doesn't just show the same pic from my sidebar over and over again. I was searching through my photos for something spooky to illustrate this, but it was hard to find anything – until I came across this and thought it had a nice ambiguity: does it depict a nightmare whisperer or an empowered woman?

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    2. Aha! A copy of your comment came into my email inbox. For the record, here is what you said (the mantra is a good idea!):

      I say a mantra over and over so my mind can't go down that path. Funny photo to end it!

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  18. I loved the strong end of this as your lines brought those remembered nightmares back.

    Donna@LivingFromHappiness

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  19. I think I can live with pleasant nightly visitors...like sweet dreams...as for nightmares and apparitions, I would gladly avoid.

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  20. What I really like about this poem is that you never really describe the nightmare. You always just point at it, and describe your reactions to it. This is very powerful I think... because the reader builds up their own nightmare of whatever it is in their head.

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  21. Poor darn kid! I can't remember having any nightmares. But I believed I have had daymares. Interesting subject and well covered.
    ZQ

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  22. This is an especially frightening prospect to me. But I love that you ended it with strength.

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  23. Oh! Me, too! Thanks for claiming it as a gift and shedding light on the experience. I had to have my blanket tucked under me just so and not show even a hand or they would get me.

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  24. I, too, have made shields with my mind and they are very real ... and they do make you stubborn and strong. I really related to this piece, Rosemary.

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    1. Smile. I wonder, though, how I instinctively knew how at such a young age.

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  25. Oh Rosemary - I do love this poem for oh so many reasons... completely relate <3 and it is purely beautiful on its own merit without any of me wandering around in it ! :)

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  26. Childhood nightmares tend to make revisits at odd times even extending to adult life. One just can't get it over with.

    Hank

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  27. I love this. Fear does bring out our strength and courage. Still, nightmares are awful.

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  28. Reminds me of my childhood nightmares. I had terrible ones but if I put the blankets over my head I was protected. Lol! Nice write!

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  29. Wow! This was great - especially the invoking of childhood fears.

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  30. Yes...nightmares making you stubborn and strong. I so understand it!

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  31. Ah, this is wonderful, I can believe it. Your words 'I kept it solid all night,
    keeping the whispers out' talk about your strength, and really were the greatest challenges made you even stronger!

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  32. I like the imagery in this, especially how the speaker met the nightmares head on and took their visits as a chance to grow stronger.

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  33. Nightmares are scary ... don't know why we have them :-(

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