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.
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’.
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
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.