Day 136 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

I have come inside to write-up my blog for the day. Geoff and I usually enjoy afternoon tea in our outdoor area and we chat companionably and I often run my blog ideas past him to let him know what I am doing.

As you know Geoff, as a rule,  is a blogger’s delight … but not today. I had finished reading him a poem called “Night” I had come across and saved. I asked him if he understood what it meant. “No” he says simply “no idea.” My response is “Oh thanks for that because neither do I!

And so my friends, I have brought this poem for all of you to reflect on. Perhaps you can shed some light on what it is about. It is a poem obviously about the Night and I was led to it because I wanted to write a post one day about things that happen in the night.

But before I give you the poem, let me just set up for you why this poem on Night captured my attention. You see, Geoff and I are often awake in the night and we are aware of what time of night it is by certain things that are happening. For example, if I wake up I cannot read the digital clock because I do not have my glasses on (and cannot see a thing) so I listen out for traffic noise.

If the traffic on the highway (which is at the end of our street) is reasonably loud, I know it is before 2am.m After 2am, the noises almost cease and there is almost an eerie silence for at least the next two hours. If the traffic noise is a continuous roar, I know it is after 4.30am because people seem to begin heading for work at this hour.

Geoff and I both noticed when we were away in Fiji that if we woke up in the night, there was this unfamiliar quiet. A nothingness. Just quiet. It was a strange feeling. A foreign country. A house with no possums crawling over the roof, as happens here. And this is another way we know the time. The possums return home from feeding on our native tree blossoms before dawn, so when they are returning you know it will soon be light.

But I digress. In Fiji, the birds that herald the dawn are also unfamiliar and sound unusual. All the sounds (or lack of them) of a foreign country. I could go on and on about “things that go bump in the night” but all this digressing is not getting the poem on “Night” out into the blogosphere!  So here … ta da … is the poem:

… by Carsten René Nielsen (translated by David Keplinger)

At night things become ever so smaller

our shoes and teeth, too

and everywhere in buildings screws turn a quarter of a revolution

but even if you press your ear against the wall

the sound is rarely heard.

Always there is someone who plays the gelatin piano

someone who packs his pipe with snow

and on a radio channel from somewhere in the world

where the sun is already on its way up through the mist in the horizon:

a gospel choir of hoarse  nearly inaudible women.

And there you have it! The ever practical side of me asks questions such as: do things really become smaller at night? I must remember to get up and try on my shoes at 2am to see if they are any tighter. What about screws in buildings turning a quarter of a revolution every night. I do hope they turn back the quarter of a revolution the next day? The mind boggles if they just keep turning the same way every night.

Now, you can see why this poem ‘got me in’? I was trying to make sense of it. What was the author trying to convey? I wanted to know what prompted him to write it? I have tried googling but with no result except to say that it comes from a book of poems called “House Inspections.”

Now, the last part of this poem makes more sense to me than the first part. For some reason, I sense the poet is referring to a person being awake at night listening for noises (like my husband who simply cannot help himself and must investigate very noise). They strain to hear muffled sounds like a “gelatin piano” but to no avail. And then there is that gospel choir of “hoarse nearly inaudible women.” Here I picture the women of the South Sea Islands (like the ones in Fiji) where the sun comes up before any other place in the world.

Sailing into Suva Harbour very early in the morning in 2009.

These islands, as I remember sailing through them in 2009, are shrouded in mist as the sun comes up. It is an awesome sight to witness. Perhaps, it is these island women that are never heard? In fact they are hoarse from no one hearing them and they are almost “invisible” as if no one ever sees them also. What does it take for some women in some countries of the world to be heard? Something very thought-provoking for all of us.

So there you have it folks. I have given you all a little bit of culture to brighten up your lives. It is a poem that certainly fascinates me … but for the life of me, I cannot quite get a handle on. Perhaps it is just a piece of nonsense? Can anyone out there give me their ideas of what it is about … for them? I suppose for me it is about the mystery and allure that is ‘The Night.’

In the meantime, next time you wake up in the night, listen for the sounds around you and take note of what you hear. You have probably taken the sounds for granted and are not even aware of those things that “go bump in the night” on a regular basis.

Until tomorrow