Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Poem Number 56

"Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions."
-Edgar Cayce

When I was eighteen I slept for a time alongside my mother. It was a most curious period: once, I nudged her slightly in the night when I lost all the blankets and she practically barked at me to get out of the way.
Intrigued, I just had to prompt her a little more. Mater informed me that the waitress was coming through with a tray.
I was baffled. Did she mean me, who was working as a waitress at the time? I said to Mater that I did not see a waitress anywhere at all.
"What do you mean, you don't see her? She's right there! She's coming through with a tray. Move!"
With that, the discussion faded into the night but it occurred to me that, with Mater's permission afterward, I might be able to craft a poem out of her nightly ventures.
And so, in 1998, the following was constructed. I shall keep with the exact text, and the original title as it fitted numerically into my book of poems at that time.

Poem Number 56

My mother just wiggled her fingers in her sleep,
hand over eyes to shield from the glare
of the sun, perhaps, as it brightly burns
in some distant place I cannot ever be.

My mother just wiggled her fingers in her sleep,
maybe saying hello or goodbye to someone there.
I think I shall ask her when she returns
about this stranger I can never see.

My mother just wiggled her fingers in her sleep
and twitched her leg- she might be racing now
to catch a bus back home so she can wake.
When she stirs this mystery will unravel.

My mother just wiggled her fingers in her sleep
and lightly touched a hand to furrowed brow.
I think she missed her bus- I'll give her a shake
and bring her back from where she alone can travel.



Beth said...

great story and poem. Fun fact and trivia, I am distantly related to Edgar Cayce--we share a great great grandfather. He was from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It's the other side of the family tree from Texican--he's on my Mississippi side.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful poem - and a happy mother's day to your mater! (though in ireland isn't it on a different date - which only means she can have two mother's days a year!)

I have found that dreams often the answer to yesterday's questions....but of course cayce is a futurist and I am not....

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

My goodness, Beth, thanks for that note :) I do quite like Edgar Cayce. I was in Hopkinsville recently- we passed it on a long drive with my relative from Tennessee. beautiful countryside. Didn't know that about Cayce though.

Kimy, ...well, she ought to have two celebrations! Thanks for the gentle Ireland it is in March, I think the second last Sunday.
As far as the quote, you're right, as Cayce is- in a way. We don't understand the answers until it's too late, usually. Sometimes we're lucky though. The typical eccentric genius will probably have all the answers in lucid dreams.

Beth said...

Yes, he is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville. My father remembers meeting him. Edgar and my father's grandfather were first cousins and contemporaries and shared an office for a while. Whenever anyone in our family shows the smallest sign of intuition someone always says, "well, we're kin to Edgar Cayce, after all." Silly.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Beth, that's a super story. Of course all famous people are related to someone but it doesn't seem real until you talk to a member of their family!
And because your father remembers him, that makes me three people away from Edgar Cayce ;) Hurray.
Thanks for sharing.

polona said...

a wonderful poem and iteresting story to go with it.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Polona, thank you. My mother agrees ;) Nocturnal murmurings are fascinating sometimes.

Jaime said...


I remember waking up one night, and I could hear my mom talking in her sleep down the hall. I listened and was shocked to hear that she wasn't speaking in english! I don't know what it was...and neither did she when I told her about it in the morning.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, wow- that's strange. It would give you chills to think about it. We might be completely different personalities in our sleep! :O Good story.

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