DREAM AMID BED-WOODS
You must pull down sheets from these linen trees,
Blankets too, a pillowcase in full leaf,
But can't: to snooze amidst their fruits, beneath
The sheath of that composite canopy's
Roost, you must raise yourself past hammock heights—
Up where its deepest roots feel doubly sapped,
That dormitory orchard might lie wrapped
And ripe with you, whose foliage still invites
More lure of surface sleep. But must you trust
The ease in these boughs, the sway of whose loft
So often now wakes vows to never rest,
To somehow remain alow, to resist
All berth above: you must push off this soft
Palleted grove, this tall, forest mattress.
The theme here must be one of the oldest in the human mind. The creatures from whom we are descended slept in trees, and surely we retain some vestige of that accommodation, far back in our psyches, our collective unconscious. Children's fascination for and longing to inhabit tree-houses evinces it, and that desire, that urge to slumber up there in our earliest easement does still perhaps overcome us at times, especially in dreams—hence the "dream" of this poem. Every forest is a dormitory for the atavistic being we're still evolving from, who emerges nightly in search of his true boudoir. Every woods is a "bedwoods" for the backwoods boy in my brain. But of course the poem's a sonnet, so it must turn at the volta and struggle against the octave's obsessions, and refute or question its imperatives. "Must" appears in every stanza, to emphasize the conflict, which in one sense is the deathwish, the wombwish to regress into one's primeval impself.
The lines are decasyllabic. Rhyme ABBA CDDC for the quatrains, then EFE EFE for the tercets, but luckily I was able to slant the E's—trust/rest/resist/mattress—which (I thought, and still hope) softened them, slurred them in a sleepytime soundward, as a subliminal counterpoint to the rhetorical assertions of the concluding sentence of this two-sentence poem.