Recorded in Islington, London
Ellen Gallagher +
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.
The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.
I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.
The wind came suddenly, and it was a benison. It rolled in off the ocean onto the headland, and the albatross came. The albatross came and it was too big to understand, as if a dog was hanging in the air. It came in on the wind, long, knife-like wings bowed and webbed feet spread as rudders.
And as it curved in, it turned its head and looked at me with those mild, madonna eyes, down its long squid-cutting beak, its world all wind and sea and spray and salt and the uplift from rolling swell over the southern oceans and it looked right through all the stories I’d ever been told about the world and the air shivered with its newness.