“Night Thoughts”

“Night Thoughts”
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
I vomit out myself again each night
When lights go out and tired thoughts awake
To find that darkened mere from which to slake
Their thirst for dark dominion.  In the bright
And sane pedantic musings of the light
Where every thought, word, deed presumes to take
On tones of gilded gravity, I stake
My soul against the coming evening’s fight.
The day is done; I’m with my thoughts, alone
And sleep cannot—will not—this night prevail.
My mind, a dynamo, begins to race
And images appear as if they’ve grown
In some dark, dank and fetid fen.  I quail
As my true self confronts me, face to face.
I see myself most clearly in the dark
When eyes stare listlessly into the gloom
Of my unlighted silent little room
And clarity has never missed its mark.
The diff’rence between day and night is stark,
Where shadows rob the flower of its bloom
And night-noise bespeaks harbingers of doom
Who from abyssal shores will soon embark.
There is no madness here; there is a shift
Of light to darkness only, but in fine
It colors every thought a darker hue
And ushers in a sort of seismic rift
That sullies every fruit on every vine
And every thought and every feeling, too.
The day’s lucidity reduced to lies,
I gaze at the abyss and there I see
On some far distant shore another me
Whose own lucidity is in demise.
The shadows—living things amid the cries
And cruel cacophony of things that flee
The light—surround me as if to decree
To all assembled, “This is where hope dies.
“What’s done in daylight holds no power here.
We’ll strip the varnish from your petty dreams
And rid you of your sanity anon.
For daylight is a poor façade for fear
And reason ineffectual when screams
Will render moot the light you count upon.”
And once again, like every other night
The battle lines are drawn upon the sands
Of sleep not yet attained, and on these lands
Depression pits the dark against the light.
And once again, like every other fight
I fall upon the ground, the shadows’ hands
Upon my throat in icy burning bands,
All thoughts of hope now fading out of sight.
And then from distant shores of the abyss
Across the chasm, lilting in the dark
A plaintive, calming voice, a gentle weep
Touches my mind, my soul, as if a kiss
Were sent to me upon a winging lark:
“Seek sleep,” it says to me, “let go, seek sleep.”
And I give in and in surrendering
I leave behind the darkness and the din
Of shadowlands where battles rage therein
And naught is won or lost.  And that’s the thing
That catches in my mind just like the ring
Of distant bells, discordant in their thin
Attempt to quell the heart surfeit of sin
In any man whose sleep the night won’t bring.
And leaves unanswered still my current plight:
Is truth found in the darkness or the light?

7 thoughts on ““Night Thoughts”

  1. Wow. I can relate to every single line. Nights like these are all too familiar. Sleep often heals, things get better, only for the darkness to return. On and on we go. And I’ve often wondered, when going through these emotions, if anyone understood this unique and very powerful pain. You’ve captured it in a beautifully raw way, Mike. Your writing is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kirsten. Yeah, insomnia and depression are truly monsters… I’ve dealt with both since childhood and they certainly do extract their pounds of flesh from their victims in horrible ways. With this piece, I had two goals: write (in a rather melodramatic way) about depression and insomnia, and do it in an extended sonnet format. It’s such a dark piece and I honestly didn’t think anyone would be able to identify with it. I still battle both issues today. Writing certainly helps, and as saddened as I am to learn that you have experienced this stuff, it’s also a relief to know other people understand. Thanks for your kind comment. I truly appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this is so very powerful and full of vivid pictures, weaved together to make such a beautiful piece much of it is sad to read but it is truthful, and I appreciate you telling us how it feels to be in the dark and that it is difficult to sleep. I thought these lines were particularly amazing.

    “The diff’rence between day and night is stark,
    Where shadows rob the flower of its bloom
    And night-noise bespeaks harbingers of doom
    Who from abyssal shores will soon embark.”

    When I was little I saw things in the dark. It was usually bugs on the floor, I would wake up my older sister who would carry me on her back to the bathroom. I honestly can’t remember not being afraid when I was little. Thank you so much Mike for sharing your poetry with us. It is a gift and you are the person who gifts us your truth, your beautiful although extremely sad words. I am glad eventually sleep does come. Sending you love, hugs and prayers. Joni


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