Tuesday, September 6, 2011



Let us sit on the floor together.
I’ll lift the words from a picture book,

make them into sound, push them toward your
head so your eyes and ears can argue

over them. This story has been said
to you to lessen your fear of sleep,

of turning from the shapes in your house
to the nebulous darkness without

design. Always, the urge to delay
sleep. It is so weird that the body

demands so much idleness, hours
with the eyelids pulled shut. Stories help,

especially those we’ve heard before.
They come from us, a chorus. We call

them back when we need them, memorize
their numbers and phonemes, the way they

like to leave us. This book belongs to
you, every day you forget it more.


  1. I especially like "the body/demands so much idleness"--almost as a condition for your meditation on sounds, numbers, "chorus" and the nature of memory.

    The closing paradox, as I hear it, is intriguing. Once it belongs to us, we forget it. Because we know it'll come back?

    I heard poet Dorianne Laux make a pretty compelling case for memorizing poems. She pointed out that we think nothing of memorizing songs; we play them over and over, on machines and in our heads--until they become almost organically a part of us. For me, your poem taps into that whole mysterious process.

  2. Another good one, Hannah. The stories fade, children grow up, they go away, but vulnerabilities remain sometimes. Memories of those stories are guideposts to go back to---those read and told with much love. Poetry. Bravo, H.

  3. "Always, the urge to delay
    sleep." So true. Bedtime ritual with my kids involved at least six stories and 12 lullabies.

  4. Reading you late today but enjoying this.

  5. My friend Mona, mrslittlejeans, introduced me to your site. I love your poetry.

  6. Excellent! I like the idea of eyes and ears arguing over stories, two different ways of experiencing words. Also interesting the idea of forgetting a book you own, literacy does I think mean that our meories are less useful (thinking of the non-literate cultures that have strong traditions of stories being passed on generation to generation etc)

  7. This is incredible...why do we like to hear the same over and over...nothing like stories and novels?! Thank you Hannah!

  8. Excellent !!I really loved this line
    eyes and ears arguing .. lovely you write simply yet so beautifully.. Enjoyed// Thanks for sharing


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