Bedtime Story

By Charles Wright b. 1935 Charles Wright
The generator hums like a distant ding an sich.   
It's early evening, and time, like the dog it is,   
                                                                                 is hungry for food,   
And will be fed, don't doubt it, will be fed, my small one.   
The forest begins to gather its silences in.   
The meadow regroups and hunkers down   
                                                                            for its cleft feet.   

Something is wringing the rag of sunlight   
                                                                  inexorably out and hanging.   
Something is making the reeds bend and cover their heads.   
Something is licking the shadows up,   
And stringing the blank spaces along, filling them in.   
Something is inching its way into our hearts,   
                              scratching its blue nails against the wall there.   

Should we let it in?   
                                       Should we greet it as it deserves,   
Hands on our ears, mouths open?   
Or should we bring it a chair to sit on, and offer it meat?   
Should we turn on the radio,   
                                                     should we clap our hands and dance   
The Something Dance, the welcoming Something Dance?   
                               I think we should, love, I think we should.

"Bedtime Story" from Scar Tissue by Charles Wright. © 2006 by Charles Wright. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.

Source: Poetry (March 2004).

 Charles  Wright


Charles Wright is often ranked as one of the best American poets of his generation. Born in 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, Wright attended Davidson College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; he also served four years in the U.S. Army, and it was while stationed in Italy that Wright began to read and write poetry. He is the author of over 20 books of poetry. In 2014, he was named Poet Laureate of the United States.

Wright's early . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Midlife, Home Life, Relationships, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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