Reposting: Tis the Witching Hour of Night

“Tis the witching hour of night,

Or bed is the moon and bright,

And the stars they glisten, glisten,

Seeming with bright eyes to listen

For what listen they?”

John Keats

Good question Keats. 3:00 am seems to be my witching hour. Not midnight when the thought of six more hours of blessed sleep could serve as a comforting enough thought to calm the mind enough to lull me to sleep again. But 3:00am is different. There is only three hours before I must get up and tackle the day. And THAT thought does anything but lull. It agitates and itches and pisses me off enough to stimulate the neurons and rile the ire that usually lies just beneath my surface…especially when it comes to scheduled relaxation.

Google “witching hour” and you’ll find that historically it’s been midnight or …3:00am. Apparently waking up at 3:00am has been an issue for many, many people for many, many centuries. So I’m not alone. In the past most believed that this was the time when ghosts and demons and witches did whatever ghosts and demons and witches do. To me, it’s obvious that whatever oddities or strange behaviours happened in the past during this hour aren’t the doings of supernatural forces but rather the over active imaginings of those who found themselves wide awake and restless at a time when there was no one else around to distract them. So they went “looking” for something to do. Usually getting themselves into trouble and then saying “the devil made me do it.”

But I like this verse by Keats. For me, in my context this morning at 3:00, no wait, now it’s 4:00am they are words that possess an intrigue and possibility. What exactly are these cheekily bright stars listening for, “looking” at me with hopeful expectation? Their light reflecting off the puddles caused by the late night rain seemingly amplifying their anticipation. So instead of tossing and turning and stewing in my sheets I decide to do something constructive with the extra, albeit oddly placed, time of consciousness I’ve been given and give these stars charmingly proffered to me by Keats this early, early morning hour, something to listen to. Even if it’s my odd contemplation on the hour itself.

“For what listen they?

For a song and for a charm,

See they glisten in alarm,

And the moon is waxing warm

To hear what I shall say.”

Keats continued.



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