Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Counting Historical Patterns in my Sleep:

I often dreamt of a crocodile, mouth agape,
luminous green too bright, as if drawn
from a children’s picture book,
though the teeth were yellow and real
as nightmares can sometimes be.

This crocodile made its way regularly
up the old family driveway and into the house, 
though I screamed and warned from the window, 
I even attempted barricades; it went from room 
to room, hungrily, as we fled, screaming.

Except, always, for my stumbling grandfather
who was forever caught by the crocodile
and lost his left leg just below the knee
while his right hand banged as hard as he could
upon the crocodile’s indifferent, green head.

Years later, as a man of seventy, my grandfather
suffered a stroke, survived, but complications
had their way and he lost his left leg
just below his knee while that right arm
of his died and hung by his side listlessly.

That nightmare haunted me for many years,
the dream of the crocodile, my grandfather and me,
I’d often wake in the night bathed in sweat
or, if it was particularly nasty, urine;
a smell that clings still these many years distant,

Even now with my forty-seven year old mind
I think about my grandfather, my dream and me.
I wonder if there is some mysterious symmetry that plays dot to dot
through time with a child’s nightmares, an old man’s body
and the way life’s patterns are revealed historically.

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