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Words That Come At Night Poem

Words are a poet's oxygen. They present as an essential presence in a poet's existence. Because poets are logophiles(lovers of words), it is therefore unsurprising that we are ever ready to receive them when they come calling. They are the most welcome visitors. Words with smooth and gentle tones float by, some are mysterious and puzzling,  others drop in, or crash land, jagged, pithy, confronting -all are received with suitable respect. I frequently find myself reflecting in my writing upon the constant joy derived from this sweet connection with written and spoken language. I hope this poem provides some small insight as to my personal relationship with wondrous words...

What do words mean to you?
The Words That Come At Night

The words of unwritten poems
Slide into bed next to me
They nestle on my pillow
And whisper in my ear
Write me down
Write me down
-Remember me
In tomorrow’s early light

Soft echoes at the edge of sleep
Implore me to
Commit to memory
Sweet refrains and edgy fragments
These faint murmurings
These wannabe words of unwritten poems
Settle as cobweb fine
Final thoughts
Last visitors
Before sleep swallows the room


  1. Yes, WORDS! In grad school, I used to have an ongoing discussion/argument with my bestie about which was the best artform - music, writing or art. I always said writing because of, well, WORDS! Love your poetry-before-sleep poem!

    1. Another vote for words! Love the discussion though. Glad you liked the poem. Words are certainly a recurring theme in my writing.

  2. Words nestling on your pillow...whispering in your ear...Love it! I do wonder if you have a notebook by your bed to quickly jot down those imploring words. All too often I find that morning yields broken cobwebs and faint but imperceptible murmurings.

    1. Thanks Molly. No, there is no bedside notebook. No phone or other technology nearby -a conscious act on my part. I merely place a stone upon my thoughts and am amazed how often I can recall them next morning. It must be practice. I do repeat them several times to hopefully create an imprint.

  3. I love these images of words alighting next to you at night. They can be quite insistent, can't they, but I love their visits and collect them greedily!

    1. Kay, you understand perfectly what this preoccupation with words is all about and once we have invited them in they do indeed become insistent and refuse to be ignored. It's a sweet addiction.

  4. I'm amazed you are able to remember the words or ideas the next morning. I scribble them down in a notebook that's supposed to be by my bed, but sometimes it travels to a different spot and I have to find a scrap of something to write these words on.

    I like your last three closing lines Alan,

    "Final thoughts
    Last visitors
    Before sleep swallows the room"

    There's something about walking into a quiet dark room–the room so many times asks me to write down her words. Thanks for this lovely post, and Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too Michelle. Recall is an elusive thing. Certainly not 100% reliable but I still try hard to make it work. Brain games I guess. Put a stone on that notebook of yours...

  5. I enjoyed both your preamble, and your poem. My experience is a little different than yours and Elie Wiesel's, in that I tend not to trust the 'brilliance' of my night words. There have been times when I've been practically sleepless with good word ideas. But when I recalled them in the morning, they had lost their sheen. I still try to, as you say so well, put a stone on them to recall them later, just in case it will be different this time.

    1. Thanks Violet. Practice will not make it perfect but it will make it better I'm sure.

  6. Hi, Alan--your pillow talk poem is spot-on and I appreciate Elie's quote too. I hope all the faint murmurings stay with you and grace your work in 2018!

    1. I too enjoy many of Elie's quotes. Thank you for your kind remarks and wishing you the very best of wishes for the coming year.


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