Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thank You, Updike

Today is Thursday, 19 February 2009.

"Tossing and Turning"

by John Updike

The spirit has infinite facets, but the body
confiningly few sides.

There is the left,
the right, the back, the belly, and tempting
in-betweens, northeasts and northwests,
that tip the heart and soon pinch circulation
in one or another arm.

Yet we turn each time
with fresh hope, believing that sleep
will visit us here, descending like an angel
down the angle our flesh's sextant sets,
tilted toward that unreachable star
hung in the night between our eyebrows, whence
dreams and good luck flow.

your ankles. Unclench your philosophy.
This bed was invented by others; know we go
to sleep less to rest than to participate
in the twists of another world.
This churning is our journey.

It ends,
can only end, around a corner
we do not know
we are turning.

Perhaps that was the corner
I saw beyond,
Knew from youngest age I was turning:
Poets, children, sorrow, joy ---
"Mad Ireland hurt him into poetry"
Every lover who ever hurt me ...
And I hurt you ...
It wasn't lethal hurts, just the foolish fumbling kind ...
I'm glad for all the hurt
For love is worth it.

Around every corner, death peeps at us.

I will be a spy in the house of death.

Life and love is our sword:
We'll conquer you yet.


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