I was reading this lovely piece written by Claudia Gonson of the Magnetic Fields about the seminal books, authors, performers, and so on who have influenced her throughout her life, and thought – how wonderful would it be to write/swap these with your friends and family and teachers? To read about the thinkers who helped them think.
And while I haven’t started mine yet, I thought I’d share two poems that have stuck with me, and yet I’ve never shared up here before. The first is “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight” by Galway Kinnell, and the second, “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas. I’d be curious to hear what you think of them.
“Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight”
by Galway Kinnell
You scream, waking from a nightmare.
When I sleepwalk
into your room, and pick you up,
and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me
as if clinging could save us. I think
I will never die, I think I exude
to you the permanence of smoke or stars,
my broken arms heal themselves around you.
I have heard you tell
the sun, don’t go down, I have stood by
as you told the flower, don’t grow old,
don’t die. Little Maud,
I would blow the flame out of your silver cup,
I would suck the rot from your fingernail,
I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light,
I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones,
I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body,
I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood,
I would let nothing of you go, ever,
feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands,
and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades,
and rats walk away from the cultures of the plague,
and iron twists weapons toward the true north,
and grease refuses to slide in the machinery of progress,
and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men,
and lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the
dark, O corpse-to-be …
And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry,
this the nightmare you wake screaming from:
in the pre-trembling of a house that falls.
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