Poem: Of a Morning

We can no more believe in the face we're given than in our recorded voice . . . both seem to belong to someone else.

Of a Morning

When I am showered of a morning,
    have brushed my hair and shaved
I know that what looks back at me,
    as I wipe the last trace of foam
    from that steamed and pampered face,
    is as good as it will get
    and a sort of amazement overwhelms me
One you’ve maybe felt as well

The best that face can do is so unlike myself
This childishness I carry,
    this constant feeling of wow and yeah,
    isn’t even there among the lines,
    no matter how plumped and primped the face
Except perhaps for the eyes
    and they need glasses now as well
A tiresome theme, overworked, old as love

Universal though, you’ll know it now or later,
    this voice that speaks all languages
What surprises life has had for me,
    under rocks, where I still peek as if a child
The various disasters and incredible good fortune
    caught me with the same astonished smile
A fabulous puzzle, just more pieces now,
    where age has caught me still a kid

Night people,
    the ones who leave my house
    when I am sandy-eyed
    and much in need of sleep
I take my leave to bed
    and they take theirs,
    to those remaining hours
    beckoning them, before the dawn

How can it be and why
    does this anomaly exist?
This differencing of turned clocks
Habit perhaps, my Pavlov’s dogging
    of a lifetime early risen
    and all those years I dragged myself
    from decades of warm beds
Unable (unwilling?) now to change

I drop to bed in soundless bliss,
    scrunched away and tucked
Their leave taken to pubs and conversation,
    the All-Nighters,
    lost among threads of theoretical debate
    that daylight won’t allow
And I hunger for that, jealous
    of their aptitude for night, remembering

Yet the days of bull-sessions are not enough,
    though I remember their pull on me
    and the intensity, the upper with no downer
Would I have it back, perhaps or maybe not
After all, I speak of jealousy and hunger too,
    but it’s there, available
    and I have opted for my bed
A Night Person once myself, no more
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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