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3:15 Experiment Poem: August 15, 2008

November 10, 2008


3:15am August 15, 2008

Thunder and lightening
wake me but it was
the rain that got me
out of bed to
roam the house
closing windows and
rolling my bike inside.

We don’t have weather
like this often—in fact
the last time it rained
and stormed like this
at night was the
night my son was born.
I sat in the living room
talking with my sister on the phone
trying to figure out what was
going on in my body
what it meant and
whether the baby was
going to be born
with a drum roll please.

Tonight I wake the boy
take him to the potty
reassure him
when the light flashes
and the thunder rolls– I
don’t like this, he says.
It’s okay, I murmur.

I pull the blankets over him
hand him Mimsy the Rabbit
kneel beside his bed
on the Sponge Bob pillow.
The night sky glows
with the almost full moon.
I can’t see any jagged
slashes of lightening
the storm is right above
us now and the light
fills the room. I
hold the boy’s hand
kiss his cheek give
his hand a squeeze
his eyes are closed
he doesn’t flinch at the
next flash and I ease away
back to bed
open the window
listen to the rain
remember other storms
the stories taking me
back to sleep

I wrote this poem last summer as part of the 3:15 Experiment–that’s where poets from around the world awaken to write at 3:15am local time then post the raw, unedited words at the 3:15 Experiment website.

I post this today for two reasons: it is Monday and I almost always post a poem on Mondays, and because my son turns 5 on Wednesday…

The photo was taken that night by Candice Cunningham, of 2020 Images; she specializes in unusual wedding photography and her website is worth checking out!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2008 9:35 pm

    That is a really cogent 3:15 am poem. Narrative poetry is so hard to do well and you have got the timeline perfect so that reading poem is like experiencing the event at 3:15 am, the storm feels very real in the background and so do the characters. The tenderness of their relationship is subtly and cleverly evoked. I like the different approach to the experiment you have taken here, more lucid less dreamlike. One year when I’m not working I must try this.

  2. November 10, 2008 10:12 pm

    That’s a wonderful, and touching poem, that comes alive in the details. “No ideas but in things.” WC Williams would have approved.

  3. November 10, 2008 10:17 pm

    Thanks, Paul! Glad the narrative direction makes sense and brings the reader into the experience directly. I have done the experiment when I was working way too much and commuting! The only year I bailed was when I was breastfeeding and working part time–could not wake up that many times in the night!

    Thank you Richard–that’s very high praise to me since I find WC Williams such the master of making statements of life full of grace yet so simple and direct and with so much going on at the same time.

  4. November 11, 2008 12:39 am

    I love how you connect the two events. The poem reads so effortlessly. Really beautiful!

  5. November 11, 2008 1:22 am

    Thank you Linda!

    There is always a temptation with 3:15am poems to edit, to fuss with them. But the only editing I do is choosing whether to put them out in public or not! There can be truth in an unscrubbed ragamuffin…and certainly I learned years ago doing the experiment that I’d rather sleep than edit at 315am!

  6. November 11, 2008 3:00 am

    It was so great Poem with an art picture.

  7. November 13, 2008 4:14 am

    So alive and so vivid. Loved it!

    blank page soaked

  8. December 3, 2008 4:32 am

    I have a hard time commenting on poetry. I feel poetry and I have a difficult time expressing those feelings but I enjoy your poetry that I’ve fallen upon quite a bit. Thank you.

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