How to Stay Awake


I was looking for something that contained the word “ovation” and came across this quote. The quote from the poet Marilyn Nelson, describing the poetry of John Drury:

“Fiercely intelligent, carefully honed, Drury’s poems trust in the myth of the way things are, singing of memory and loss to our sad world of ovation and applause.”
—Marilyn Nelson

Then I went to Drury’s poems and found this gem:

How to Stay Awake


Late at night on the interstate, driving

while drowsy, you crank

open the window

so the wind starts shoving


with its cold fingers.

But even with coffee, the sedative is silence,

a calm that lingers


in the slow drone of tires on the highway,

like the hushed waves

against a hull that’s rocking on the bay.


In any car,

the wind, however loud, is still a murmur.

What’s a sure


way to keep yourself awake? Just click

the radio on

to something loud enough, not talk but rock,

and don’t just listen—

that’s how a siren lures you to slip under,

seductive assassin,


and merge into a gulf of harmonies.

You have to sing,

open your mouth wide, belt it out, and praise


the means you have

for rescuing your own self from yourself,

to stay alive


by keeping the muscles moving in your mouth,

so your eyes can’t close,

so the song becomes a counter-spell to death.





<a href=””>Ovation</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The religious imagineer

Where the fire and the rose are one

Gaudium et Spes 22

by Dr. Larry Chapp

Tikorangi The Jury Garden

Mark and Abbie Jury

I Love To Go A Gardening

Growing Our Life in Northern Michigan

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Mason Street

The literary magazine of Newark Public Library

Morse, Lewis and Endeavour

Welcome to the Morse Universe

Shades of My Garden

a window into a life, a conversation with a soul, a gateway to a heart

Slouching Towards Senescence

Aging woman reads, steeps tea, feeds cats and is ridiculous.....

Gather Victoria


Kate Macdonald

about writing, reading and publishing

The Lore of the Garden

Myths, legends, folklore, fairytales about flora, fauna and sacred landscapes


Dominican Preaching through Word and Image

My little corner of the world.

Faith, love, and listening to the language of the world.


meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy

“But I ask myself, What must I do to make my life a true story?”

Jeffrey Levine

poetry, publishing, and mentoring

Creative Spiritual Directions

... reflections to inspire creative spiritual directions ... ... . . . .

%d bloggers like this: