Insomnia and Poetry Postcards

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Sleep doesn’t always come easily to me. To be more precise, I typically fall asleep in a heartbeat, but wake in the darkest hours of the night unable to sleep any longer. My eyes pop open and I’m alert, my mind racing with churning thoughts and worries. Ironically, one thing that can help me relax and get back to sleep is to mentally compose a story or a poem. I’ve even caught myself tapping syllables on the underside of my pillow. I’m not sure it’s a good sign that my mental writing efforts help me drift to sleep, but honestly, I’ll take it! Ironically, recently I’ve been composing insomnia poems in my mind during my wakeful hours. Here’s one of my latest:

Insomnia

In the deepest dark hours
night shifts and moon-born
silent shadows stir and stretch,
oblong on old pine floors, then
melt into inky corners, where murky
nocturnal thoughts slumber fitfully, and
invite them to fully
awaken

©Molly Hogan, 2019

I’ve also been remiss about thanking all those wonderful poets who participated in the New Year Poetry Postcard Exchange. My refrigerator is practically strutting! She’s covered with all sorts of poetic goodness and fabulous images. We’re both delighted with the make-over, and I can’t tell you how much those postcards perked me up during the darkest winter days. Thank you, thank you!!! Here they are in all their glory:

I’d like to pretend that my delayed thank you was deliberate, but it’s really just a happy coincidence that the New Year Poetry Postcard organizer, Jone, is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup. You can find more poetry at her blog, Check it Out.

37 thoughts on “Insomnia and Poetry Postcards

  1. I appreciate your ode to insomnia. I go back and forth between deep amazing sleep and lying wide awake. I need to use the insomnia time to write, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m not sure it’s writing as much as letting my thoughts drift over writing possibilities…trying out phrases, images, words, etc. Most of the time it helps me drift back off to sleep and then, in the morning, I can play around with some of those ideas–the ones I remember!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I don’t have those nights often, thankfully, but early this morning our cat woke us up. I love “moon-born/ silent shadows”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tabatha says:

    I like “murky/nocturnal thoughts slumber fitfully.” I have a huge insomnia problem and am impressed that you use your awake time to write. Sending you a virtual fist bump.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’ll take the fist bump, but it’s more of a mental meandering than a full-on writing time. I wouldn’t mind the wakeful nights so much if I didn’t have daytime obligations.

      Like

  4. lindabaie says:

    Like Margaret, I love “moon-born/silent shadows stir and stretch”. Wakeful sometimes, too, I wonder what vision brought me out of sleep, then settle in to read. Keep writing those poems, Molly, perhaps a chapbook?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello dear Molly – Appreciations for your insomnia poetry. I actually love the idea of you tapping out syllables on your pillow & may adopt that plan for the nights when I am in your same pickle. I too can fall asleep easily, but can wake up in the dark (4, 5, even 3 AM) wide awake & ready to get on with the day. I’m hoping that more exercise during the day & being more diligent about shutting off screen time much earlier in the evening, will make a difference. Another plan has been to be more farmer-like in my hours & get to bed much much sooner, if I am going to be awakening at a field-hand time. If not, I will just try to tap out a poem & mentally send it to you, through the night airs.
    In the meantime, thank you for also sharing the postcard exchange images & I love your description of the strutting fridge!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Beautiful imagery, Molly – and I can relate to having words start running together in the wee hours and needing to get them down before they skitter away. (Your poem made me think of the favorite line I picked out from the Maggie Dietz poem Jama shared today, ‘a pale moonmark/on the floor’.) :0) –and, re. the timing of mentioning the Poetry Postcards, this is a more fulsome thanks than what I managed; I still have not gotten traction in this new year!

    Liked by 3 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Robyn. While I don’t love the reality of it, I do love the image of words skittering away. For some reason that evoked such a scene in my
      mind! I’ll spare you the full details, but it involved words scurrying across the sheets, me grabbing my notebook and pen, my cats chasing the words, and my husband startled out of sleep. He seems to be wearing a nightcap and a befuddled/annoyed expression! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can picture the images from your poem sauntering around in the darkness… captivating poem Molly! I don’t usually have trouble sleeping but my partner snores and now has a cold–after the third time of being awakened by this I sought out another sleeping location, but alas could not get back to sleep… then I start reading or writing too, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Linda KulpTrout says:

    As someone who has a lot of sleep issues, I relate to your post. I love the images in your poem, and I’m glad that composing helps you get back to sleep. I need to try that!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, I often wonder how I can get back to sleep in the middle of the night so I totally understand your insomnia habits. The other night, I actually got up to write down some thoughts and try to organize them for my PF blog post. Thanks for sharing your experience. Great lines that resonant with me: “melt into inky corners, where murky
    nocturnal thoughts slumber fitfully.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It isn’t funny at all, not one bit, but I find it funny how many of us are having the same fraught nightwakes. DOES IT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MENOPAUSE? Maybe not, and either way “oblong on old pine floors” is an excellent, atmospheric line.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      There are a lot of us, aren’t there!? I also find that it’s mostly women who seem to be experiencing this. There is a lot of historic evidence (and literary) that two sleeps used to be the common experience–A short sleep, a wakeful period, and then a return to sleep. Sometimes I find that thought soothing….sometimes.

      Like

  11. macrush53 says:

    Oh Molly, I rarely wake once I get to sleep but sometimes I’m tapping syllables before I sleep attempting to quiet the mind. I totally get it. What a great ode especially this line: night shifts and moon-born.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oooo, gorgeous, Molly. “Moon-born” and “inky corners.” I have trouble getting to sleep and will have to try some silent composing and see if that works! Wasn’t the swap fun? I haven’t decided what to do with mine. They are such treasures.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. jama says:

    Must say you do good work during bouts of insomnia. I suffer from this occasionally too, but I’m not usually able to string together coherent thoughts, not to mention such beauty as “moon-born silent shadows stir and stretch.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Jama. I certainly don’t typically compose a whole poem during my mental meanderings. Or if I do, I rarely remember it all. I just let my mind drift and play with words and images and then pick them up to work with in the morning.

      Like

  14. I’m in love with moon-born. What a wonderful way to turn something annoying into something beautiful. Great post. I love all those postcards too.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This poem really speaks to me. I have written a poem about insomnia, too. I like how yours creates a sense of stillness and loneliness that lurks about at night while others sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I have little poetry postcards here and there in my home, and I love it, too. I get morning insomnia, too. I jerk awake because I’ve forgotten something, usually. I write it down, and then I can go back to sleep. Or I have an unsolved problem, and my mind won’t stop circling it like a snapping dog. 4 am and I are close friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. maryleehahn says:

    I’ve had some bouts with insomnia, so I feel your pain! I stay away from chocolate after noon, and if I drink a beer with dinner, I just have to make sure I’m going to enjoy it enough to pay the price for waking up in the middle of the night. I’ve recently found that skip counting by threes puts me right back to sleep!

    Liked by 2 people

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