Unnoticed and necessary. Like the air.
Nightly wishes by Margaret Atwood.

She’s one of the most popular living writer and poets. Mostly known for her novels, this Canadian author is often referred to, for her work often labeled as "feminist" , like in the case of "The edible woman". Actually she is an attentive analyser of today’s society. From the consuming attitude of the West, to the post colonial analysis of the world still influenced by the Old England and the present US society.

Her political analysis is always a very strong one and can be read mainly in her novels and essays.

She also writes poems, though. Beautiful poetries. Like in the case of "Variation of the word Sleep".

It is a tender womanly wish to protect and be present in the life, even only unconscious one, of a beloved person. There’s no need to be protected or to be loved in this elegy to a single word.

Sleep is nothing but a way to make a silent declaration of love, based on the wish to ‘give’ more than to ‘have’.

Her wish to watch (over) the person sleeping develops trough the necessity to be a light trough the difficulties of life (wavering forest of bluegreen leaves, towards your worst fear).

Her presence is linked to words of hope and light (silver, sun, white flower).

The attitude of a lover and the wish of a motherly protection  are stirred together. Much more, if we consider that her wish may be not fulfilled. It is clear since the fist lines (I would like to watch you sleeping,

which may not happen.).

The sad wish to be protecting a kid for life (the most sadly impossible desire of a mother, as she think she has to let her kid go) and the loving wish to be there, forever, for the partner that may be will never love nor need her. (I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary.)

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.