Poetry Friday: Decades Of Love

Feb 8, 2019

KNAU listener Michael Fillerup raises the bar for romance in this week’s Valentine’s edition of Poetry Friday. The retired teacher and his wife Rebecca have been married 44 years, and today, Michael shares a poem he wrote for her more than 20 years ago. He says nothing’s changed…he’s still in complete awe of his wife.

Rebecca and Michael Fillerup on their wedding day, 1975
Credit The Fillerup Family


Michael Fillerup:

Very early in our marriage, my wife and I lived in the town of Chinle which is right in the heart of the Navajo Reservation. It’s right next to Canyon de Chelly. We lived there about 6 years. We fell in love with the place, loved the people, loved the beautiful land, made many great friends.

In 1985, we moved to Flagstaff, but for our 20th anniversary we went back to Chinle, and we spent a wonderful day horseback riding in Canyon de Chelly. And that night we spent the night at the Thunderbird Lodge. And I remember I woke up about 2 in the morning, and there was an almost-full moon outside. The moonlight cast this surreal, almost fairy tale glow, on my wife and she was in a deep, deep sleep. She has this beautiful long hair, and she looks just like Sleeping Beauty. And I remember looking at her and at that moment thinking, ‘I have never seen anyone or anything so beautiful in all my life’.

The Fillerup family near their home in Chinle, AZ
Credit The Fillerup Family

And so then I just started musing about the 20 years we’d spent together, and all the ups and downs and in-betweens, and the things we’ve gone through, and I got this line in my head: ‘The woman of my dreams is sleeping in my bed’.

Keats once said, ‘Poetry should come as naturally as leaves to a tree, or not at all’. That has not been the case with me for most of my life, but in this particular instance, I was literally just writing down…words were just coming to me. And out of that came this poem, ‘The Woman of My Dreams Is Sleeping in My Bed’.

The woman of my dreams is sleeping in my bed.

She keeps a courteous distance

awaiting the perfect moment to crash

the loud and lonely party in my head.

She knows my every nuance: the damaged

shadows that I case, my Sabbath insurgencies,

the mopey aftermaths that capsize

Rebecca and Michael Fillerup today
Credit The Fillerup Family

every voyage. She blades

the candor of sawbones, picks

lint from my apparel, covers

the lens with cheesecloth.

She has numbered every piece

of my shattered dreams

to someday delicately re-assemble.

There is polish on her pillow,

a purple valley for my hands.

She waits with the patience of a hunter

until I am close to disappearing

then slips the key into the lock

and gently turns. May my last breath

be kin to this: mystery, ecstasy,

time as we know it tenderly snapping. 

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. If you have an idea for a segment, drop her an email at Gillian.Ferris@nau.edu.