Had We But World Enough and Time…

I love that line by Marvell. It seems there is never enough time and the world seems so big and, yet, so small. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to control the size of our world as needed? And who hasn’t wished to slow down or speed up time?

One of my favorite quotes is from a Star Trek movie (Generations, 1994) where Malcolm McDowell’s character, Soran, says, “Time is the fire in which we burn.” And there is no more proof of the validity of that statement than when you are wide awake much too early in the morning because you cannot sleep for all the worry and concern that plagues your brain. All of the doubt and insecurities wake up and suddenly you feel as if you are being bedeviled by one of the dark, wingéd creatures from Bald Mountain, and you burn. How long before you hear the sweet sound of sleep’s own Ave Maria playing?

Day three’s NaPoWriMo prompt is about time. Tell a story or action that takes place over time. What better to write about than the thoughts that haunt my brain when I can’t sleep? How it feels as if I will never sleep again and how long the hours drag on.

Happy poeming!



Thoughts at 4 a.m.

By Jessica Kay


The dog is having a nightmare and whimpers in her sleep

while the other feels lost and alone and unloved because I am

making him sleep in his own bed instead of next to me under the top blanket

where he feels safe and secure and warm.

The cat sleeps on my feet and moves to shove her head into my face

so I’ll pet her because for whatever reason,


4 a.m. is the time when

I should be awake to offer them attention.

And then I remember the paperwork I forgot to fill out and turn in to the

school counselor by 8 a.m. so it’s up and to the computer and finish that

-thank heavens for email or then I’d have to stay up-

(except that it’s due by noon and I see that only AFTER I finish filling it out)

and really, I should fill out the other form but what’s the use when I won’t be

approved for the assistance anyway,


and besides, it’s not so much to really need help

with paying after all, if only they could wait until mid-month.

Then there’s the bills I’m behind on and how much longer I can

get away with pushing them off until the next payday.

There’s the constant worrying over how my newly graduated son

is going to be able to be on his own when he is still so immature

and needs so many more skills that he refuses to learn.

How bad a parent am I that I haven’t taught him how to survive

…except even I’m struggling so how can I think I could possibly teach him?


Then there’s the growing tension between Him and I,

a constant bruise that never goes away. I struggle to not

fall back into a rut and fear that’s where He wants me to be again

while He tries to force me to be what He thinks He wants me to be,

and I can’t be that, and so the tension keeps mounting and I don’t know

how much longer it can go on when He keeps jabbing and poking and pushing


and accusing and saying things that aren’t true.

He’s trying to get a reaction,

-because nothing else makes sense and He doesn’t understand why I can’t make Him happy-

-because it’s not me who can do that, it’s Him and he struggles with this concept-

and when He does it makes Him angry and retaliative,

and it’s all just too much.

I’m going to break.


Adulting sucks and I don’t know why I was in such a hurry to grow up

when all my life I saw how hard it was in the example my parents set before me.

And no one else is up,

just me

and the noises of a sleeping household:

a whirring fan, an air conditioner hum, sprinklers coming on outside,


the hushed breaths of those lucky enough to find sleep

a dear friend who visits every night

while I sit here typing away trying to shut the madness of worry out,

and hoping I can strain enough of these teeming concerns through

a mental sieve

and let my heavy eyelids fall

and shut out the world.


*Featured Photo by Ben Blennerhassett on Unsplash, words by Jessica Kay