Sunday, May 06, 2012

Michael Lithgow: a child sleeps on the bus


a child sleeps on the bus


A child sleeps on the bus with his mouth slightly open.
Crowded around him are men and women in parkas; 
confusion, sleepiness and isolation are like a cloudy
light.  Morning rush.  There is a bit of dream in the air,
and the hard eyes of a poor man are cast down
into the gravel and debris on the floor.  Everywhere

there are sleeping giants. The boy is dreaming that he is
everywhere. When the bus bangs on the road his eyes flutter,
open momentarily, then close. It is hard enough
to dream on a bus.  The windows are splattered with dry salt.
The confusion is not so hard to understand, like tumbling
in dreams.  We make sense of it until we wake.

The morning light pries. The bus heaves with the lights,
bodies jostle one another against the next, they touch,
everywhere flicked eyes and heads look away
refusing this intimacy.  The dream of the boy changes,
loses its shape, opens.  There is a snarl of sound,
the bus machinery grinding us down, traffick gunning

on the road, a kind of churning. Down goes up
when you fly in a dream, your body becomes light
and you float and travel so long as confusion
and dread don't break through, and everywhere 
you find memory, patterns that are yours. Open a door
and your childhood pops out. The dream

has a lurching rhythm of its own, a jumble.
The boy's dream fills the bus, reaches out through tiny
fibrils of light touching everyone. Even when his eyes
open we remain delicately entwined. Even the man
with the downcast eyes is touched by the light, a bag of tins
at his feet, the bus smelling of his tins.
from Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry
Ed. Robyn Sarah (Cormorant Books, 2011)

supplementary material for a review soon to appear in The Rover.


The` Htut Win said...

Its so nice blog and informative

Matt D said...

Right from the very beginning, these two lines:

**confusion, sleepiness and isolation are like a cloudy
light. Morning rush. There is a bit of dream in the air**

The whole poem is full of such wondrous images – so excellent. I love it.

Michael Lithgow said...

Hello Brian,

I can't seem to find your email address .. I am trying to locate a copy of the review that you wrote of Waking in the Tree House. If you get this message, please contact me.

Michael Lithgow