The Night’s Insomnia

‘When the angels are panting
and scratching the door to come in …’  Leonard Cohen, 2012

If the night is long, and there can be no sleep, if the lullaby is nowhere in
your heart, if morning comes to its new day exhausted, if all your novels
strike wrong tones, if your waking dream is always of oblivion, if those cold
coins of regret buy nothing now, and some high court sits in sleepless
confusion, if the night is the one who won’t leave you, close your eyes and put
your head just here where my own poor heart has learned that the night, poor
night, wide-eyed and blind, must cling to you its only companion.

by Kevin Brophy


After the explosion
I contain the site in a giant sarcophagus.
The fallout cloud has descended upon the family—
meal times are always the worst.  Poisoned by
silence and the taste of metal we swallow the horror
of resettlement.  We know some who have fled
only to discover the wasteland still burning inside them.
So I return to the structure every day, entering
on a five minute clock, searching for clues to
where it all went wrong, the flaw in my reactor’s design.
Sometimes I am tempted to remain inside
with tonnes of twisted metal, bearing the heat
for the thrill of recalling the woman I chanced upon.
But there is no hope now and light emanates
from the adulterated rubble floor, walls reflecting
like a shallow seabed or a yellow fish aquarium.
Remembering always spikes the meter.  I hose down
before a reading, clean enough to know it’s not for
love or joy but for shame that I keep returning.
To warm myself in hot spots of grief, the self-pity
of ‘good-for-nothing’, though dumping myself only adds
to the fuel—this disaster takes forever to manage.
I enclose the sarcophagus in a new container
plus a container after that, and enter no more,
swearing in its shadow until this half-life
becomes a full life lived.

by Nathan Curnow

Two poems from the new book RADAR, a joint collection by Kevin Brophy and Nathan Curnow.

Launch details can be found here