Midnight Musings

Sun 01/21/07 at 2:50 am

Living, as I do these days, a nearly unscheduled life has led to some rather erratic sleeping patterns. For instance, tonight I went down for a nap about 10:30 p.m. A couple hours later, the transition from nap to going to sleep; i.e., moving from the couch to the bed, got slightly bumpy. You guessed it. I started to think. First, I thought about the nature of poetry – well that might be a bit of a stretch, but I found myself reciting the Second Witch’s line from that play whose name one is never to say,

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

For those of who you don’t already know, according to the Wikipedia entry, “[t]he notion of a pricked thumb came from ancient Rome. It was said by seers that palpitations of the heart, the flickering of the eye and the pricking of a thumb were all warnings of evil. In particular, a pricking sensation in the left thumb was very worrisome.” (Palpitations of the heart can also be a sign of low oxygen saturation.) Anyway, I thought about how Shakespeare rearranged the syntax to make the rhyme and how, well, prosaic, the same line would sound if he wrote it as we would normally expect, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked comes this way.” Boring.
Then I started to think about about how one of my friends reported that a friend of hers was having trouble remembering which president was on the fifty and hundred dollar bill, respectively. Well, at the time of our conversation I’m happy to report I knew they were Ulysses S. Grant and Benjamin Franklin, respectively. And then I thought about poetry again. I though of writing a poem entitled “Poetry” that would go something to the effect:

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked comes this way.

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Jackson

But then I got stuck, I was unable to remember who is on the $20 bill. So I had to get up and look. Turns out it’s Jackson. So if Jackson’s on the $20 bill, who’s on the $10 bill? Well, I didn’t have a $10 bill. Now, I had shut down, search engine-wise, for the night. So I went back to bed. Would sleep come? What do you think? In between obsessing on trying to remember who is on the $10 bill, the strains of “[t]he time has come, the Walrus said to speak of many things” came drifting by. But that was all I could remember. Understandably, the prospect of sleep any time soon had pretty much gone by the wayside. So, I got up. Booted the computer. Since it was now an hour or so past the witching hour, my Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, January 21, 2007, awaited in my email inbox. Reading it solved one of my causes for insomnia in that “The Walrus and the Carpenter” just happened to be the featured poem. Twilight Zone music? Maybe. Then I googled “ten dollar bill.” Alexander Hamilton. Well, that blew my whole poem out of the water because what I was going to try to communicate was the poetic quality of the term “dead presidents,” my failure to think about the same problem with Benjamin Franklin notwithstanding.

So, anyway, I thought these musings had enough poetry and synchronicity to creep into the realm of blogworthiness, especially since I haven’t posted much in awhile. The First Voice is going well as, for the most part, is my life. And now, to bed.

next post: Happy Bloomsday
previous post: Not On Our Watch

1 Comment

  1. Wow… such musings for the witching hours. I have to admit, I was sound asleep.

    Comment by Shell — January 22, 2007 #

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