Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tossing and Turning - John Updike

Tossing and Turning by John Updike

The spirit has infinite facets, but the body
confiningly few sides.
   There is the left,
the right, the back, the belly, and tempting
in-betweens, northeasts and northwests,
that tip the heart and soon pinch circulation
in one or another arm.
   Yet we turn each time
with fresh hope, believing that sleep
will visit us here, descending like an angel
down the angle our flesh's sextant sets,
tilted toward that unreachable star
hung in the night between our eyebrows, whence
dreams and good luck flow.
   Uncross
your ankles. Unclench your philosophy.
This bed was invented by others; know we go
to sleep less to rest than to participate
in the twists of another world.
This churning is our journey.
   It ends,
can only end, around a corner
we do not know
we are turning.

"Tossing and Turning" by John Updike, from Collected Poems 1953-1993. © Alfred A. Knopf, 1993. Reprinted with permission.

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