Monday, January 16, 2012

A sleepless night

This poem comes from a book entitled Julie Andrew's collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies.

Little did I know that I would use the advice in this poem when my son came to me in the middle of the night telling me he couldn't sleep. He was worrying about our truck breaking down this weekend and thought he was responsible. I knew he wasn't. I suggested he think of an episode we had recently watched together called Man in a hurry from an Andy Griffith's DVD collection. (I love the old sitcoms.) He said okay and went to back to bed.

In Man in a hurry a stranger drives by the town of Mayberry on a Sunday when his car suddenly breaks down. He desperately tries to get his car fixed but everybody he meets in Mayberry is enjoying the day. No one understands this city man's hurry. You could feel the stranger's tension by his movements and the words he says when he becomes frustrated with the sheriff Andy Taylor, Aunt Bea and Barney while they peel apples, eat ice cream and sing on the porch. The man in a hurry angrily tells them that their town is behind the times.

When his car is finally fixed, to his amazement there is no charge for the car repairs. It was a pleasure for Gomer and Goober to fix it and they even took liberty to take a picture of themselves standing next to it. Andy tells the man he can stay the night if he likes and leave in the morning.

The man declines and eagerly starts his car. Aunt Bea rushes inside and comes out again with a lunch bag of chicken for him to eat on the way. Opie gives him his special penny for good luck. Andy then tells him to drop by anytime when he comes through again. As the man looks at everyone waving and smiling at him he suddenly realizes what a lovely place Mayberry is and he wants to stay for the night. He makes up an excuse why he can't leave. Andy catches on to man's excuss. Soon after they resume listening to Andy play the guitar and the man falls asleep on the porch with a peeled apple in his hand. 

Now wouldn't that put you to sleep.

The Trick

One night, when I couldn't sleep,
My dad said
Think of the tomatoes in the greenhouse

and I did.
It wasn't the same as counting sheep
Or anything like that.

It was just not being in my room forever
On a hot bed
Restless, turning and turning,

But out there, with the patient gaze of moonlight
Blessing each ripe skin
and our old zinc watering-can with its sprinkler,

Shining through a clear glass pane
Which slowly clouded over into
Drowsy, comfortable darkness

Till I woke and came downstairs to breakfast
Saying Thank you, Dad,
I thought of them. It did the trick.

by John Mole 

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