When I was in my teens, I devoured books of poetry. Mostly by English-speaking poets, for some reason, even though I grew up in Sweden; and mostly poets who were active in the first half of the 20th century.
I’m not sure why, exactly, but it might have had something to do with the fact that I had fallen completely in love with T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”, and wanted to read poetry that was written in a similar time and place.
This is one of the poems that cut right through me back then, and which has stayed with me ever since. It’s by Tony Connor, who was born in Manchester in 1930. That final line of the poem is brilliant – like a door opening and giving you a peek into a deep and dark story all its own. It’s perfectly written poetry, yet it could also easily have been something spoken by a child.
A Child Half Asleep
Stealthily parting the small-hours silence,
a hardly-embodied figment of his brain
comes down to sit with me
as I work late.
Flat-footed, as though his legs and feet
were still asleep.
He sits on a stool,
staring into the fire,
his dummy dangling.
Fire ignites the small coals of his eyes.
It stares back through the holes
into his head, into the darkness.
I ask him what woke him?
‘A wolf dreamed me’ he says.
Image via Wikimedia.
3 thoughts on “A poem that has stayed with me”
I read this poem in English Literature class in the UK when I was fifteen. The last line has never left me and has bubbled to the surface of my consciousness occasionally, randomly over the past 26 years. I searched the internet for it tonight, half suspecting that I’d dreamed it myself, and found your page. Thank you for sharing the poem and your thoughts on it.
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Thank you for reading. It seems we were both profoundly affected by this poem. It keeps surfacing in my mind as well… One of those images that just stays with you.