Saturday, February 29, 2020

counterpane: the bed of illness & recovery

the mountain: like a body

beneath a blanket

– after Ransetsu

still me, it seems, awake in the quiet
of another room

healing loves to wrap itself
in a blanket

open the window
shoo the fug out the room

soft orders of quilt
marshal my dreams

seeing the mattress in the street we share a laugh:
she wants to bounce on it, I want a lie down

it’s wise to pack your own parachute
& make your own bed

whumping the pillows
care not cure

for the sake of equality
shake the duvet

her fists sleep tight
fillips of light blow in at the window

pain stays within the blanket
speech reaches out of the bed

the sheet’s daubed with dark patches

for the ill blankets are a sign of labour
sheets a sign of defeat

in the realm of health
sleep is wealth

the setting in which a body
rests its landscape: blanket

beneath the nullity of the blanket
there is the good of a rest

some climb the hills with their legs
others use their knees to shape duvet mountains

for the bed-bound the idea of ‘free time’, ‘leisure time’, or ‘rest’, is insulting

time in bed is devoted to long spells of laboured passivity
seeking brief episodes of recovery

rest is shelter for a body filled with weather

from that day on her bed became a den

bedrooms can be navigated in terms of distant inaccessible landscapes

tweed is the closest cultural approximation of nature

there should be no moving thing in the bedroom
except perhaps a candle flame

we each have a bedtime name

Ransetsu, retranslated from the Spanish of Jorge Carrera Andrade by Joshua Beckman and Alejandro de Acosta

Some of these poems were first exhibited in the exhibition, Day of Access, Travelling Gallery, 2019; some were first published in Paidemua magazine, 2020.

Alec Finlay

photographs by Hannah Devereux, originally published in A Far-off Land.

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