Tuesday poem: The land of sleep by Airini Beautrais

Eventually, we will go back to the land of sleep. A car passes on the road maybe every three minutes. Small noises surround us – the insistent communication of birds, the flight of an insect, sun expanding on the roof iron.

The trees outside take half a year to make their little helicopters; the wind browns their leaves. Their roots raise the asphalt. In the hallway there is so much beautiful wood. A tap in the never-used bath drips a brown stain down the yellow enamel.

From the centre of the room comes the sound of breathing. Perhaps you have been asleep for a hundred years. Is there in fact a person under all that hair? Can the world really be filled with people building houses, patching holes, ploughing fields by hand?

The baby turns in its watery capsule. The first sound we hear is probably the workings of our mother’s intestines. Meals go around like freight trains; you keep time by them. Words have no meaning to you, but you are starting to know their sounds.

by Airini Beautrais
From Western Line (page 55)
Published by Victoria University Press
Used with the permission of Victoria University Press

This poem is part of the Tuesday Poem Scheme


2 thoughts on “Tuesday poem: The land of sleep by Airini Beautrais

  1. I love this poem. The way nature is in charge…sun expanding on the roof iron…The whole thing remids me of the feeling one gets from places where the generations have trodden. In particular of historic houses which are often quite empty and so quiet that one can hear the past. And a lovely idea to end with new life. Thankyou.

  2. The sense of quiet growth and renewal is so tender in this poem – stunning. I particularly love the description of the tree’s seed pods – the little brown helicopters taking a year to be created. Bliss.

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