0213 Late Night Reverie - Poem by Michael Shepherd
One in three of us, the stats say, lives alone. Sad;
but fine if you prefer it that way.
It's late at night. You're alone. The PC off at last. The TV off.
Finally you put aside the book you're reading. The attention's drifting.
Too late too, for reading in bed. You should just
get up from the chair, switch off the light,
etc. But you don't. You just sit there. This
is one of life's great private joys. Far better than
all the bathroom stuff, the almost idiot moments
of waiting for sleep, knowing you'll never catch the moment
when sleep takes you; and the more you try, like a child,
to catch it, haha got you, the longer it will be before - zap - zzz.
So you sit there, drifting into a glorious haze of irresponsibility
as the thoughts fade, the cares fade, you're just two thoughts away
or perhaps two non-thoughts away, from something like bliss,
and this peace doesn't dwindle you - there's an expansion
as if 'someone' doesn't become no-one, but everyone...
and there comes to mind, curiously, those greatest moments in the
greatest films, when there they are, looking out over Paris or Algiers
or wherever, with the soundtrack playing, hardly there but there,
and nothing is said, but the whole cinema audience of hundreds
is silent, focussed, feeling in those seconds of emotion and stillness
that everything real, everything wished for, everything that matters
is there. In full.
Or in the theatre - sitting there, hundreds of you, weeping silent tears
that even those stoic Romans found a phrase for, lacrymae rerum,
the tears of things: you all know, she won't take that first step
out of herself, he won't try for that job he knows he's wanted
all his life; they'll never go to the Moscow of their dreams...yet...
It's like that for you in your armchair.
The key to all of life is there, out of reach perhaps, yet
known, not out of reach... beyond sadness, beyond happiness
in a strange way. It just... is as it is. And that's OK.
Better than just going to bed. Yes, it's a good time.
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