I could not sleep, feeling restless and wide awake. I got out of bed and walked down the stairs, I wrote. While I did that an alarm jangled in my PC, simultaneously with my phone as midnight passed: another birthday. I stopped the jangling alarms thoughtfully, fully aware but distant from that awareness. It was my birthday yesterday and the day before another friend. Next week there are two more and another the week after. I wondered why I had so many friends born around me, what it meant or if it meant anything at all.
I returned to bed wide awake still. I read from my book of poetry, acutely aware of all around me – the gurgle of the plumbing, the odd car speeding by, the creaking of the building as it settled into the cool of the night: all the things that pass by unheard normally as I sleep. I lay with my book in bed, the pool of light thrown by the bedside lamp illuminating the crisp white pages with their black print upon them. I turned pages, stopping to read here and there before passing over much more. It was poetry I read again, words as slippery as liquid in the mind of the poet, a thought, a life, a love made live through the pen of the poet and read by me here now, privately mine as I communed with these words on this night and inside me my things that rubbed up against the poets.
It is the beauty of poetry I think that the best stuff enters you without knowledge of it like it is your own memory and own experience, or so I think. It is life rendered not in literal detail but in senses and feelings through words carefully felt first before selected, like music I think more than literature, something that we know and feel inside without understanding why perhaps, the truth of it deeper than our mind.
I read and found as before that I am drawn to those poems with the telling detail, the moment described that grasps at you in recognition. The feel of something described in few words, or the description of a scene full and dirty like a stamp of authenticity: this is true. Like most things it is the small things that capture us and draw us close to the big things that rouse or excite or move us; or perhaps not.
Eventually, I slept all the way through. I woke and looked at the clock and got out of bed. My clock has been 23 minutes fast for months, and I have been too lazy to change it. Every morning I wake and factor in that difference: except this morning. I was showered by the time I realised I was much earlier than I ought be. I shrugged my shoulders: so I’ll be early.
The rising sun was a diffused yellow glow against which the buildings showed dark, but for where the yellow light fell upon them. There were hot air balloons in the sky again. I counted six. I rattled into town on the tram. Everything was normal except that I was earlier than usual, everything proceeded step by step as it had the days and weeks before. Here was my routine.
I walked across the road and into the building. What’s happening, and where does it all lead? And so deliberately I recalled the Indian proverb I have many times past in moments like this: Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.