rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Holy Holy Holy

Happy Daylight Saving Hour!

(Though I guess everybody east of here who gets it already had it.)

Happy Belated Daylight Saving Hour!

For the special occasion, a prose poem this week I think.

Sunday Verse

The Weight of Sleep

by W.S. Merwin

At the very mention of it there is one kind of person who
laughs or looks away. You know at once where he is- in 
his life, in the story of the species, in the adventure of the 
planet. For the weight of sleep cannot be measured. By 
definition, some might say, though has it ever been defined? 
At least it cannot be measured by any scale known to the 
perspectives of waking. Presumably it might be measured one 
day if machines were contrived that resembled us so closely 
that they slept. And required sleep. But there again, can 
we tell how they would differ from us? How their sleep 
would differ from ours? There again one reaches for definitions 
and touches darkness.
        And yet the weight of sleep is one of the only things 
that we know. We have been aware of it since we knew anything, 
since the first moment after conception. It grew with us, it grows 
along with us, it draws us on. Its relation to the gravity of the 
planet is is merely one of analogy. The weight of sleep draws us 
back inexorably toward a unity that is entirely ours but that we 
cannot possess, that resembles the sky itself as much as it does 
the centers of the heavenly bodies.
        When did it begin? With life itself? Long before? Or a 
little time after, when consciousness, the whole of consciousness, 
scarcely begun, suddenly became aware of itself like a caught 
breath, and was seized with panic and longing and the knowledge 
of travail? Yes, it was then that the weight of sleep came to it, 
the black angel full of promises. With different forms for each 
life. Different dances.
        For the planet itself it was simpler. To the whole of the 
globe's first life as it became conscious of itself, everything 
seemed to have stopped in the terrible light. Everything stood in 
the grip of the single command: Weariness. Forever and ever. Then 
came the black angel.
        For the planet his shape can be pictured as that of a 
driving wheel of a locomotive. The rim is darkness; he is always 
present. The spokes are darkness. They divide the light, though 
they disappear as they turn. They meet at the center. The hub is 
darkness. Across one side is a segment of solid black. There is 
the weight of sleep, properly speaking: its throne. There the wheel's 
mass preserves its motion. There its stillness dreams of falling. 
There what it is dreams of what it is.


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