Just Before Dawn

Some call it “the magic hour,”
When darkness lies heavy like a blanket.
From the silence beyond the circle of lamplight
Comes no sound but whispers of the night.
The old house creaks and groans
After a day on arthritic knees and
A sympathetic hoot owl calls back softly.

A night hawk swoops past, tires humming, 
At the end of a long interstate week
Or on the drunken weave home from
The after-hours bar out on Route 10.
Every so often, at the edge of hearing,
Echoes the faint cry of the woman next door
As she answers the angry call of her mate.

Just before dawn, sirens scream and
The world sighs in its sleep.
Some call it “the magic hour.”
I call it insomnia.


Written for One Shot Wednesday.


  1. 'Cruel' hour I'd call that... great depiction of a harsh moment, Patti.


  2. Excellent last line - and you captured it perfectly.

  3. The elements of setting are very strong. Not only did I get an eerie feeling for what's inside the house, you took me to the neighbors' and roadside bar down route 10. smiles Patti

  4. Ugh, when the house is quiet and you feel like, why can't I sleep. I think it's the curse of the writer. I slept fine before becoming freelance! Great write Patti x

  5. Never drink coffee after 12 Noon!!
    Nice One-Shot Patti

  6. ha. and where i come from they call it domestic disturbance....oh wait that is the neighbors....yeah i have spent a few nights listening to the night...

  7. Patti, at some point in everyones lives, they experience a sort of insomnia. You my dear do a great job of describing it however. I liked the line "a sympathetic hoot owl calls back softly" an awareness that not all sleep at night, including the supposed sleeper. I loved the eerie touch that you put on the poem. A
    Delightful poem, thank you for sharing!

  8. Awesome, Patti. I especially love the sympathetic hoot owl (of course), but definitely felt the unease of the siren and the voices raised next door. Such a good write!

  9. So much is happening during those hours when most sleep - as a nurse I heard many of those sounds - would be nice to be able to drown them out

    Excellent my friend

    hugs from the Moon

  10. Love the bluntness of the exit line, in comparison to the poetic voice that precedes it. Excellent.

  11. I can totally relate to this one Patti...they can keep that magic hour...I love my sleep...Had to get up at to many of those magic hours, and head down the highway...bkm

  12. ugh, I seem to always lose comments on your page.

    I'm with G; no coffee after lunch. And perhaps a white noise machine to drown out the delightful strains of the trash next door. Here's hoping you sleep better tonight.

  13. Shame we're on a different time line. I'm up at 5am like it or not!

  14. I kinda revel in "night sounds." Insomnia? Not so much. Can't have one without the other, though.

  15. Oh maaaannnn... I hear ya, Patti! LOUD AND CLEAR!! (says the girl commenting on your post at 5.33am.. and not yet gone to bed) :)

    It is BOTH for me - magic hour AND insomnia!!
    EXCELLENTLY written, my dear..
    (I had promised myself I would go to bed after reading your OSW, Patti.. and now, having read it AND seeing the relevance, I AM OFF to bed.. NOW!!!)

  16. this was a wonderful read..very flowing and descriptive and the end was a great finish....on my tweet out list..cheers pete

  17. A very vivid description...I liked this a lot. Those night sounds are very entertaining, especially during the summer when the windows are open at night.

  18. You made insomnia sound utterly attractive!

  19. It's RARE that I can't sleep - but when I can't, it looks, sounds and feels Just. Like. That.


  20. Patti, I have read many poems today and this is my favorite...I write most of my poems at night when I can't sleep. I am often surprised in the morning to see new stuff that has almost written itself. You have made the best of insomnia.

  21. I write my next blog post in my head when I can't sleep. Get some of my best ideas in the early hours of the morning :)

  22. Great where you took this, and I ditto your sentiments... although I've come not to mind insomnia so much. Love the fine detail around sounds heard while sleepless.

  23. Sirens and sighs...Love the connection you drew here.

  24. I've only had it a few times, but I sympathize with all who suffer this regularly.

  25. I just get up and read a book. :)

  26. It is indeed- although now I keep myself well tucked snoozing deep :)

    I loved the last line- it sounded like one big smirk to be able to record those wee hours detailing..

    Very well written.. Loved the expression.. xxx

  27. Dear Patti

    Yes, some time it is insomnia that keeps us and some times its emotions that wakes up...
    Liked it so much.
    Thanks for sharing...

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  28. I have so felt those moments. Nicely done.


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