Muse for Monday


MantraWe live in a 24-hour world. Just fifteen years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find more than greasy spoon chains and convenience stores open all night. Now, it is commonplace to find most anything you can imagine available in the darkness. Who makes this happen?

Welcome to the graveyard shift. Affectionately named after the witching hour, the graveyard shift houses more denizens than merely the bakers, newspaper reporters, police, nurses and retail stockers. Our global economy offers work remotely to the other side of the world where the residents teem in the daylight despite the moon reigning over your land.

It takes a special breed of night owl to preside over the workplace in the night. They are not your party animal. They function in a totally different biorhythm then the mundane mortals who inhabit the daylight. Ironically, the majority of their Mates are day walkers.

Unlike baseball widowhood, being a widow(er) of the night is different. Mate does not come home in an altered mental state any more than other Mates arrive from their jobs. The difference is the time of day. Mates learn to savor breakfast and a matinée in the way other couples savor supper and the late show.

High Risk

Not much protection for the wearer

Some of the overnight jobs are high risk. Doing them in the daytime presents hazards which are amplified in the darkness. The commutes are riskier. The strangers are stranger. The things which go bump in the night are out and under cover.

Mates of night workers are acutely aware of the difference in risk. They commiserate with other night widow(er)s about the loneliness of going to bed alone, the fear of not knowing and the depth of the silence the night offers.

Mantra is going to take you to spend the night. This is not your typical slumber party. She offers you the tale of the night widows and widowers in Night Shift.

Night Shift

A long shadow reaches across the night.
Your side of the bed is crisp and cold.
The clock ticks ticks ticks the time away.
All the sashes are pulled down tight,
But a damp chill rides on the draft
Begging for the warmth and light of day.
The hours swept away without sight.
How long in the danger do you stand?
Did you lose the time? Can you say?

Sleep is elusive, furtively sneaking,
Refusing to get into the half-empty bed.
The clock ticks ticks ticks the time away.
Fugue dreams flash, flicker and fade.
Cyclone spinning the brain from the head.
How much longer to the dawn of new day?
Will the hobgoblins retreat into the mist
Or venture further toward the fore instead?
They’d abide your command if you’d say.

But you are out in the cold of the night.
Home is but an empty shell all alone.
The clock ticks ticks ticks the time away.
Demon Fear puts up a mighty fight,
Wrestling reason, probability and chance
You’ll walk through the door, break of day.
Your smile, more today, a welcome sight.
Separation anxiety creeps off.
Please don’t leave again, what do you say?

(c) Red Dwyer


Have you ever worked the graveyard shift? Have you been the night shift widow(er)? Are you better in the night or by the light of day? Which job do you think is worse by night than by day?

(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. This is a wonderfully felt love song, full of the longing, the aloneness, and the fear for one’s love in the face of the night-which has always represented danger since the time we were born. I am a night writer, often going outside to write in the bare light of the globe that illuminates my patio. I feel life more exquisitely there and have a need to be within the shadows to bring out my creativity and basic human feelings and needs. Thank you for showing me the slight danger that my spouse feels at my nocturnal life. If there is no real physical danger, there is primal danger that we first brought fire forth to drive away.
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Poem – The Last MelodyMy Profile

    • Glad this stirred feelings in you, Gail. I write at night far more than any other time…especially when I am alone. For me, the worry is ever present. Great to see you tonight.

  2. The repeat makes the longing deeper:
    “The clock ticks ticks ticks the time away”

    I know of which you speak but not for many years but this poem brought me back to those days swiftly…
    Tess Kann recently posted..Introducing: Inanimate ObjectsMy Profile

    • When I wrote this one, the clock was driving me berserk. It is a feeling I know far too many who share. Good to see you tonight, Tess.

  3. Yes I have worked nights before but a long time ago now my great friend, it is a very different feel to the day and sometimes it can feel like perpetual darkness depending on what time of the year one is working nights. Mind you I always enjoyed that shift of 10pm until 6am but for others it was a typical nightmare 🙁 lol

    A wonderful posting Red and I hope that your evening is a most enjoyable one my great friend 🙂

    I will call back in on the morrow 😉

    Androgoth XXx

    • I worked it many years, but mine was 1900-0700. It was always tougher in the winter because unless I got up very early or stayed up really late, it was always dark. Have a wonderful morning, Andro. Thank you for stopping in for this one. 🙂

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • Not too surprising that you liked the night shift, Andro.
      Binky recently posted..No Man Is An IslandMy Profile

      • Yes I never thought of that when I offered this thought but you are right about that one Binky 🙂 lol Now where are those candles? It is rather dark in this graveyard and there is a scratching sound coming from that tomb over there, no idea what it could be but as there is a Werewolf on the loose it could be one of those naughty maidens with the hots for a hairy delight, well that is what they call Werewolves on the flip-side of Transylwombania 🙂

        Have a fun evening Binky and grab a freshly made pancake before that hairy looking Werewolf arrives 🙁 lol


  4. Laurie

     /  July 16, 2012

    I used to love the night shift, it was hell on relationships but I was happy……until I had to do something during the day, like be awake…….funny, it never bothered me when the other would work nights, I liked it actually…..I lost my thought.

  5. This is a perfect descriptive poem for the graveyard shift and the one waiting. I have been both., I prefer night time work. I am more alert and functioning if I am up. I don;t know what job would be worse in the night then the day… I would much rather do just about anyting at night …
    Hugs 🙂
    Love 🙂
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Disinformation and Misinformed Folks, Mid-Afternoon Mental MomentMy Profile

    • When left to my own devices, I prefer working at night. I like the quiet.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  6. I used to be a night owl, but I guess age has caught up with me. I used to be more productive at night, too. But now I usually go to bed at 12:00.
    Binky recently posted..No Man Is An IslandMy Profile

    • I gave up on a bedtime a long time ago. I try to at least go to bed before dawn.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  7. I must admit I prefer the night to the day.

    As I write it is 5.03am and the new day is beginning.

    Love the poem hun! 🙂

    God Bless!

    prenin recently posted..Monday – Trials and tribulations…My Profile

    • There is nothing sweeter than the hours just before dawn for creativity. Glad you liked this one. {HUGZ} Red.

  8. This poem spoke to me and about me..I have been there..restless thinking about what he was doing at that moment..and although people get used to it..i never ever got used to the routine when my husband used to work night shifts in the early phase of his career and it was a small town..would often wake up at odd hours and when in day i was all awake he would be deep in sleep…didnt like it at all..
    thank god it was over and he took another job.
    loved the poem…
    Big hugs
    Soma Mukherjee recently posted..Jungle,Bungle,Tungle,Gungle,A Pre-storyMy Profile

    • I am so glad you liked this one. I have been both the night worker and the night widow. It is always about flow, and it seems one is always going upstream…Glad to see you today, Soma <3 {HUGZ} xxx

  9. I will only say I love you and am here

  10. Nightshift….Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler
    Bearman recently posted..Why Geeks are the Real Superheroes at Comic ConMy Profile


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