July 30 Richard Wilbur: Sleepless at Crown Point

A strange little poem. It caught my eye, mostly because of the word “sleepless”, such an easy word to say, such a difficult word to suffer through. Oh, how you can toss and turn like a sea at storm. You always do feel like a boat being launched from wave to wave, rocking and tilting in unnatural ways and never finding a place to land. Your mind roils and boils (ah, that is an example of internal alliteration: two words with the same inner sounds, as opposed to initial alliteration where only the first sounds of the words need to be the same: house, holly, hard, heck, hill). Lack of sleep leads to a living death, walking around in a haze not knowing who you are, memories waft by you and seem distant like dreams. You find yourself checking your watch five times in a minute forgetting that you’re there in the moment and you are only half capable of anything.

This small poem is sort of mysterious to me. I had to look up the word headland as I’d never seen it used before now. It is a narrow jut of land that projects out from a coast line (or a bit of farm field that is left unplanted). Capework is also new. I thought that it might refer to the word “cape” as in another type of land as Crown Point sounds to be a landmark of some type.

In my mind’s eye, I read the title and I can see the poet sitting in his car looking out over the cliff out over the sea. He watches the waves sparkle in the star light and listens to them wash out over the beach.

I looked up Capework and the only definition I could find was what a bullfighter does when working with a bull in the ring, waving his flag about pulling it away when the bull dashes through (I wonder how many people still watch that?). So, the headland is perhaps a bull lunging into the ruffling wind? Does it look as if it is charging from the coastline? And how does that speak to being sleepless? Perhaps he’s having one hell of a sleep deprived hallucination.

Sleepless at Crown Point

by Richard Wilbur

All night, this headland
Lunges into the rumpling
Capework of the wind.

About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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