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‘Night Of Too Few Dreams’ by Roger Stennett

Updated: Jan 17


The British Poet Roger Stennett
Roger Stennett

I awake long before dawn

From a night of too few dreams,

The name Galileo playing

On my sleep-eyed morning mind.


I grieve for adventures, unplayed.

Fantasies unrealised. Mountains

Unclimbed. Now unclimbable

In the prosaic world of awakening

But not awareness. Never that.

The place for problem solving has gone.

The cerebral location where mental buckets

Could be emptied, freeing me of carrying

Yesterday into today, and on into tomorrow

Has been snatched, from beneath my nose

By an Antipodean in a time warp, so she claims

Broadcasting utopian ‘news from nowhere’

Or maybe the ‘Erehwon’ of Samuel Butler

With far more sheep and down under attitude

Stealing sleep away from me, and with it, dreaming

Scheming time. Depriving me of answers to puzzles

Muzzling me with yawns and yawning

As new day dawns and with it, regret is realised.


But what of Galileo (1564-1642)

Polymath from Pisa. Father of modern Science

Observer of the skies. Listener to planetary music

As space spheres turned and churned out melody

Unheard by common men. Inaudible, but there.

I don’t know. All I possess of him is a name, hanging

On my thirsty lips. Diabetic dry.

What has the old Italian sky pilot

To say what ? To guide my on my way ?

What compass point ?

Which longed for latitude

Will he share with me ?

Galileo, are you my lodestone.

My animal magnet.

My prophet and my mighty ‘Seer’

To set me on the path of righteous enquiry.


I will never know, for like old Samuel Coleridge

Dreaming ‘The Ancient Mariner’ in Somerset

My own female ‘Man From Porlock’

Knocks on my virtual cottage door

In an act of ‘coitus interruptus’

And I withdraw, before I have come

And the poetic progeny

I might have spawned

Is no longer to be found.

No morning glory, sown and realised.

No Mariner. No Albatros around his neck

No thirst that only can be slaked by bird blood.

Nothing like it. Just the name, left in its stead

As sure as Edward Thomas clung to Adlestrop

Just the name. A small station in Gloucestershire

I am left with your name, to birth me into waking.

Something, and nothing. A name of such power

A giant’s name, on whose mighty shoulders

Science stands, peering into unborn futures

Trying its level best to understand.


I awake, long before dawn

From a night of too few dreams,

The name Galilei Galileo playing

On my sleep-eyed, morning mind.


Roger Stennett

5-2-23

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