by Michael Morris

Ashamed I cannot connect

to the natural world like Basho

did, I lay here listening to

my C-PAP machine intersect

the fading click of the T.V.

turned off and the mechanical

peep my alarm uses to lull

me downstairs to make us coffee.


The humidifier’s humming

as it warms the air passing through

a plastic tube attached to my

face, the snarl of science coming:

this is my frog leaping the dew

to splash in the pond of the sky.

Michael Neal Morris has published short stories, poems, and essays in a number of print

and online venues. His most recent books are naked and Recital Notes, Volume I. Collections of his

work are listed at Smashwords and Amazon. He lives with his family just outside the Dallas area

and teaches at Eastfield College.

Monk Notes:

Walking It Off:

This Blue Monk:


One thought on “CPAP

  1. Part of the charm of this poem lies in the dualities that tease and encourage each other rather than creating conflict. The speaker proposes an interior conflict with the first word of the poem, “Ashamed”, but to say that he “cannot connect / to the natural world like Basho” (lines 1-2) proves ironic. The speaker transcends both this negative emotion and the mechanical world that causes it when he recognizes the connections between his mechanical world and the natural world of the poet Basho, a foreshadowing of Basho’s haiku that the speaker references at the end of the poem. This association sets up the duality between the modified Italian sonnet, which is the vehicle for approaching Basho’s haiku, and in the end, neither the sonnet nor the haiku appear in perfect form, mirroring the speaker’s sense of being aware of both worlds, while not entirely engaged in either.

    Language constructs an interesting duality with the words “lay”, “fading”, and “lull” in the octave and the words “warms the air” in the sestet. The sense created is one of a passive speaker juxtaposed against Basho’s active frog, which leaps and splashes “in the pond of the sky” (line 14). The image suggests a sense of passive connection in a negative way to the active CPAP machine versus liberation by the image of the leaping, splashing frog. The surprising word “snarl” in line 12 refers to science, but here, the snarl or tangle of science relaxes its negative connotation as soon as the speaker and image transcend to the leaping frog image.

    The technical and creative expertise evident in this poem make it a joy to read and ponder. This poem engages the reader on a number of levels, including intellectual, historical, artistic, sensual, and spiritual. All of this in 14 lines – this is why we enjoy poetry.


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