In the night

A “backwards poem,” to be read like Hebrew or Arabic, from right to left:

start a with wake I

voice your hearing
name my calling

remember I before
are you
here longer no 

are you
gone long

still but
somehow
near so

or perhaps try it frontwards, left to right:

I wake with a start

hearing your voice
calling my name

before I remember 
you are no longer here

you are
long gone

but still
somehow
so near

*******

many thanks to Katrina Morison for the backwards poetry” inspiration during
the March Open Write at Ethical ELA

Image: Pillow. Playingwithbrushes. CC-BY

The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway,
meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March.

This marks my fifth consecutive year.

22 thoughts on “In the night

    • It really is interesting to see how the poem looks when you’re supposed to be reading it backwards – how meanings ebb and flow in different directions and rhythms. Many thanks for your words.

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  1. I just loved the format – once I read the first two lines, it was almost natural to read the lines from right to left. Of course, I went to Hebrew school for several years. It’s a beautiful poem, Fran. Simple, tugs at the heartstrings. The words will linger on my mind long after leaving Slice for other tasks.

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    • Hebrew school – wow! My husband and oldest son studied Hebrew, son especially. So glad you found the little poem meaningful, Lynne – for it is true and came from the heart. Thank you.

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  2. I followed your direction, and read it right to left. It made me wonder if it caused me to pay more attention to each word, since that direction is not the norm for me. I must admit that the sentiment hit me harder with the second, left-to-right rendition. Must be another morning for memories…I had an awful one come to me while I was writing my morning page, but couldn’t bring myself to Slice about it today. Did this calling bring you solace, or unrest? The poem leaves me wanting to know more…

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    • Thanks for the observations about the reading direction, Chris – I know there’s a punch in the regular left-to-right version, I think because there’s nothing to cushion it like in the first version. So, regarding your haunting memory that came today, that you’re not yet ready to Slice about… I hope you will at least notebook it somewhere for a while, and let it lie there. I’ve done so with moments I can never share publicly; and then there are some I feel I can, at a later point in time, from a safer distance. The voice calling my name in this little poem is my father’s. No mistaking it. So clear, so vivid, so…present. Jolts me wide awake out of my sleep. It has only happened a couple of times since his death in 2002. There’s an initial inclination to respond – what’s he calling me for? – mingled with a startled excitement. Honestly, as waking realization settled in, it left me feeling a little bereft, thinking perhaps I dreamed something that seemed so very, very real. I feel the realness of it even now. I’d say it evoked longing more than solace.

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  3. What a cool approach here! For what it’s worth, I always loved my Hebrew instruction, especially when practicing my writing. As a lefty, I finally got a turn seeing other people emerge with the ink smudges on THEIR pinkies dragging across the notebook. =))

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    • I love the new forms and inspirations shared as well (many from you!) and I know from your writing that your mother is, indeed, so near…she shines not only in the winking of a star above, but in this work of your hands and heart – she’s in your words.

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