The Double Knock
When my dogs are at home
I sleep through the night.
When the double knock comes
it causes no fright.
For if they don’t bark
I know that the knocks
did not rise from the dead
or crawl out of the rocks.
I can roll back to sleep
and ignore my scared brain.
The noise that I heard
won’t drive me insane.
But tonight the hounds are gone
when the knocks come all too clear.
Where are those damn dogs?
How I hate these damn fears!
Background: About once or twice a month, when I am falling asleep, and I’m about 80% asleep, I will hear two knocks on a door that startle me awake. Fortunately we have dogs. And if the dogs aren’t barking, I realize that the knocks were from my half-dream mind and not a burglar or monster! And then, due to the grace of the dogs, I can go back to sleep. But why a knock sound and why two knocks? I have no idea. Does anyone share this phenomena with me?
Well, this last weekend I was home alone because my wife and kids were visiting the in-laws and they took our dogs with them. The knocks came in the middle of the night and shortly that after this poem popped up in my head. So I got up at 2 am and wrote it down. And I am posting it on: Real Toads & d’Verse Poets.
On Form: Sometimes we choose a poetic form and write to fit it. And, as in this poem’s case, sometimes the form chooses us: a poem comes to us pre-wrapped (unconsciously) in its own form and we only notice the form (or lack thereof) after the fact.
I decided to explore this poem – and have bolded the stressed syllables to make it clear.
You can see that this silly poem has mainly a 2-meter lined pattern (vs syllabic) with iamb and anapaest stresses with some interesting exceptions:
- The 3rd line in the first stanza ends in a baccius. For me, this replicates the startling affect that I feel when the knocks come.
- The last stanzas first two line are three meter, instead of two. I did this (subconsciously) so as to build before the ending punch lines.
I pride myself in being a poetry ignoramus or perhaps a poetic ignoramus. And I intend to stay life-time member of the proud and bold illiterati. But nonetheless, I guess I am a double agent who is slowly studying. This meter stuff is interesting – especially when I compare it to prosody of other languages I know.
Criticisms, corrections, insight, questions and more are coveted, as always.