MacBeth Hath Murdered Sleep

by Dean Blehert

MacBeth hath murdered vision,
for he can see only his reasons,
whatever in the world justifies
what he has done: in a rainbow he sees
inevitable disillusion; in sex,
the hectic twitching of decaying flesh;
in life, all life, a disposable litter,
dead leaves disturbed by a cold wind;
in priestly teachings the mockery
of mangy crows conversing
among gnarled winter branches.

MacBeth hath murdered memory,
for he has put into the world
much he prefers not to know:
that one much like himself
can be a corpse, a nothing;
that one even more like himself
can be a monster; that dreams
of greatness can end
in what he now is.

MacBeth hath murdered imagination,
for to do what he has done and now must do,
requires the consolation of not knowing
that in others dwell ones like himself
or like what he once was, one with hopes,
dreams, people he cared for. It is
a leap of imagination to say “Hello”
and mean it. He can say it, but can
no longer mean it, for it is uncomfortable
to be there to say it or to imagine
anyone exists to receive it.

The universe demands compensation:

Having deprived it of willing awareness
(his own and that of those he has overwhelmed),
he must supply an unending compulsive wakefulness,
if only to his nightmares.  MacBeth
hath murdered sleep.

Having deprived it of lucid memories,
he must be hounded by vivid fragments
of what he would not see, their jaggedness
unsoftened by understanding. MacBeth
hath murdered sleep.

Having deprived it of an alertness
to what cannot be seen, the spiritual existence
of himself and others, he is lost
entirely in visions others cannot see:
MacBeth hath murdered sleep.

He hopes death will give him rest,
but he is already dead, yet sleepless,
having murdered sleep.