Monday, 5 July 2010

The Tuesday Poem

ALONE AT NIGHT

Alone now in the old house
I lock doors, fasten windows
and close the curtains to keep out fear.

There is nothing outside but sheep
standing patiently in dark fields
keeping watch for winter foxes.

The trees toss restlessly in the garth
talking amongst themselves.
There is nothing outside but the dark.

Inside the fire burns optimistically;
it's flame a brand to thrust
in the eyes of ravening wolves.

I am not used to silence,
the quiet conversations of sheep
the breath of trees, fox cry.

Sometimes in the night
I wake and feel the silence and the dark
filling the sockets of my skull.


This poem was written quite a few years ago, after I returned to the north of England on my own to stay in the isolated farmhouse I had been brought up in. I realised during the night, that it was the first time I had been alone without either a partner or my children since I left home at the age of 18. I've always been afraid of the dark - a fear no rational debate can cure!!

* a garth is an old norse word - northern dialect for a belt of trees grown as a wind-break around houses.

http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/

8 comments:

  1. Kathleen,

    I found this poem very evocative, both of moments we have probaby all experienced, but also of those older "species memory" fears of a darkness that did indeed hold predators such as those "ravening wolves" that must be kept at bay by fire.

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  2. I Love the final stanza. Great work :-)

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  3. I tried to leave a comment before ... but it didn't take for whatever reason. Here goes again!
    I love the word 'garth' which I have only ever known as a Christian name before. My favourite line is the 'the quiet conversation of sheep'. A fine, moody poem. Thanks.

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  4. "Sometimes in the night
    I wake and feel the silence and the dark
    filling the sockets of my skull."

    These last lines are gorgeous, they made me take a second peak at the rest of the poem and realise just how evocative it is. :)

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  5. "The trees toss restlessly in the garth
    talking amongst themselves." is my favourite line.
    A beautifully evocative poem, I can feel the darkness crowding in.

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  6. Hello Kathleen. I found your blog via Al's, and enjoyed your poem, especially the line 'the quiet conversations of sheep' - you get a real sense of the night and its surroundings. Thank you!

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  7. Hi, Kathleen...I came to visit via Al's blog...

    Lovely poem! Where were you in the North? My Dad lives near Newcastle...

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  8. Hi everyone - I've been in darkest Cuba without IT, so sorry it's been so long. thank you al for your comments. Yes, Sharon I'm not far from Newcastle - about a one and a half hour drive. Geordies are great people!

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