Midnight Riff

This is my midnight riff in writing. A few moments ago I was kissed by a muse when in the distance I heard a train: its whistle and its “cachunk, cachunk” fading slowly on the track. That moment is gone but I am still haunted by vague lines about beauty and grace and their connection to sounds in distant places.

By my bed is a window that I leave open at least a crack, except on the coldest nights. That window is like a sacrament, a channel of grace, and I find comfort in the little things it gives me: things like the soft tap-scraping of a shade moving in the breeze, or the transport of trains moving in the distance, or the excitement of sirens stirring up the night, or the rise and fall of voices in a neighbor’ yard, or the whoosh of leaves in the cool night’s breeze. Best of all is the subtle breath of evening, scented by lawn and moist earth, which caresses my face while I drift into unconsciousness.

When I write late like this I think of long ago saints who missed sleep to pray, and who through words held back dark deeds of the night. As I think about these saints, and my desire to take place in their fellowship I wonder if I too should pray. But as this stretch of night continues, and I sit in the darkness with words that I cannot utter, words that yet find their way onto a page, I finally wonder if writing can be my prayer.

One Response to “Midnight Riff”

  1. paul  

    on quiet nights, when I’m outside or when I’m getting ready for bed with the window open, I still think I hear the rhythmic clunking of wheels on rails. I miss the whistle, the grinding hum and the occasional hold-up as the long train of cars bisects the city.