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Unread 02-23-2021, 08:29 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,592
Default Temple Sleep

Temple Sleep

A troublesome number
of limber and simple
parishioners clamber
up to this temple,
believing that slumber
in its ample
innermost chamber
will cure, for example,
heart burn, a somber
mood, a pimple.

Praise God, but I,
the sanctum’s keeper,
wish that the high
ascent were steeper
or, down in their sty,
the cures were cheaper
or that the wry
revenging Reaper
of Souls would come by
and scythe each sleeper.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 02-23-2021 at 09:50 AM.
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Unread 02-23-2021, 10:06 AM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is online now
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 395


I read this as about hierarchies. And the keepers of hierarchies.

The structure of the poem reminds me of a spiral staircase, looking heavenwards. And the narrator -the keeper of the sanctum- I imagine as a tall, thin aesthete with long, long fingers, steepled together. Oxbridge, with tripping questions.

I enjoy the list of tiny woes, the pimple. And the idea of the heap of parishioners sleeping in an inner temple close to the sky.

The thought that only the able-bodied parishioners (so only minor woes) would be able to reach the temple is interesting, too. Not a temple for the truly woeful, more for interested climbers who desire to sleep in high places.

The disdainful voice of the keeper of temples is both hideous and very funny. I end up wanting to climb up many stairs and sleep in the temple just to annoy them.

On a word-level, it's interesting that you use ‘wish’ rather than ‘pray’ in S2 L3. I’d been expecting ‘pray’ as I read the narrator as a member of the clergy but ‘wish’ makes them more human. I wonder why ‘revenging’ Reaper, too. What he is taking revenge on - the disruption to the temple, maybe, the kind of wear and tear of staircase climbers, perhaps.
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