a favourite Les Murray Poem

The Day I Slept Like a Dolphin

The day I slept like a dolphin
I’d flown the Atlantic twice over
and come down in snow-rimmed Denver.
There I filled in both entry papers
and got called back: Hey! You, Buddy!
You didn’t fill these out right!
It was true.  Only the right hand
side of the Immigration form
and of the Customs form had writing.
I could explain that to you, I marvelled,
as he impatiently did not,
he of La Migra.  But I’d bore you,
I added, and filled in the left questions.
Under an Atlantic of fatigue
one half of my brain had been sleeping
as the other kept watch and rose to breathe.
Next time, I’ll peep, and get
a second, waking view of my dreams.

from Conscious and Verbal (1999)

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2 Responses to “a favourite Les Murray Poem”

  1. Merle Newman Says:

    thanks dear daughter,for the lovely poem-do dolphins really do that?rise to breathe in their sleep?We’re waiting for another cyclone,to hit on thursday-will need my dolphin suit for that! take care,love from Mum xxoo

  2. Woman walking Max Says:

    ‘The day I slept like a dolphin’ – astonishing distillation of meanings, in so short a space. Reading it, felt like I was in a story, with all sorts of story possibilities within it- why did he fly the Atlantic twice ? What happened before, and afterwards ?
    I felt as if I was there with him. Thank you for introducing me to Les Murray.

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