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Part of my compulsive creativity stems from insomnia.  Unfortunately - or fortunately - depending on how you look at it, it's been a problem since early childhood.  I won't take sleeping pills; that's one step down a slippery slope.  I do relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, on bad nights try to keep from mulling over the problems of the previous day, and often recap memories, create stories, recipes or poems, plan paintings, gardens or carpentry projects or whatever comes to mind.  

Last night after less than three hours sleep, I woke up suddenly, and a couple of hours later got up for a cup of ginger tea and a computer game or three while listening to music.  I had just downloaded some Aaron Neville including his piece "A Change is Gonna Come", which I accidentally enqueued three times in Winamp.  Going back to bed for a couple more insomniac hours, I composed the following poem with a surprise ending, inspired by Neville's song.


Defenseless, unknowing, soft bundle of need,
Searching and reaching, seeking to feed.
Mindless of peril, eating to grow,
Learning, preparing, beginning to know.

Voraciously taking up all in your way,
Dreaming at night of the wonders next day.
Then, sensing changes of body, you find
Yet more disturbing, a difference of mind.

Questions and struggle, disillusioned of life;
Where are you going?  Why all this strife?
Choose a position, and select it well,
Now that you're older you'll grow a hard shell.

Cornered by circumstance, trapped in your skin,
What is the meaning of this state you're in?
Don't rush the process, you'll spoil the surprise,
That nature will hand you on some bright sunrise.

Life has its stages, and there is a goal
Down destiny's path for your body and soul.
Labor and learn, continue to change;
Keep on the course no matter how strange.

Cold winds will buffet as winter storms rage,
Hot sunlight burns; you feel in a cage.
Distress and worry?  Don't fear to go wrong.
What doesn't destroy will make you so strong.

Enjoy the good times, survive the bad,
Laugh when you're happy, cry when you're sad.
Dissolve all the old, embrace a fresh view,
Forgive all the past, accept the new you.

Your effort is ending, you know not when,
And that is the way it should be, and then....
Alas! You discover you've opened a crack.
Come out.  Lose your fear.  You cannot go back.

Go forward; press onward!  You have control
Of passage of body and transit of soul.
You're free! You're free!  Take flight to the sky;
Stretch, spread your wings, rise, fair butterfly.

Copyrightę  Bess W. Metcalf  06/04/02


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