Luke Patterson reflects on his poem 'Night Vision (while we sleep)' for POEM FOREST 2022.

I’m drawn to the mysteries of ecosystems at night when we are watched and known by creatures and critters unknown, unseen to us. Sometimes, when I rest my head to sleep, I have trouble quieting my mind but by focusing my attention on the symphonic sounds of crickets, frogs, the skittering of possums, attuned to their rhythms I float off into dreamlands with ease.

Indeed, poetry and dreams are not dissimilar phenomena. Metaphor, simile and figures of speech all dabble in the art of transmutation and distillation. Like dreams, I love the way poetry extends the possibility of thinking. I love how the essence of apparently distinct people, creatures, places and things can be blended into magical concoctions. For me, Country in all its vastness provides the most spectacular palette of textures, smells, sounds, tastes and colours from which an enlivened poetry emerges.

In my poem ‘Night Vision (while we sleep)’, I wanted to conjure a dreamy feeling of at-oneness with the lively hustle and bustle of nocturnal creatures co-existing under the cover of a starry night. I was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Mushrooms’ for its exploration of the mysterious nocturnal happenings of fungi. I also drew inspiration from Gaagadju man, Bill Neidjie, author of Story About Feeling, whose poetry speaks to the interrelatedness, the systems and patterns of kinship connecting human and non-human worlds.

I encourage everyone to practice this unconfined kind of thinking found in poetry and dreams. Whenever you can, daydream, listen to all the life around you. Then, write it down. Even the most seemingly simple observations have the potential to emerge as beautiful poetry.