Darwin awoke from uneasy sleep. His eyes searched around him – yes, his room near the forge: travel chest from his journey here long years ago; small table upon which basin sat like grinning cat; narrow bed, linens now moist with rain or sweat. Pitcher, cup, candle. Edged in light from moon through crack in half-opened shutters.
Sure seen a dreamscape through another’s eyes. Grey stone, grey sky, grey air still and unmoving. Spattered water upon window ledge – splattered and splashed from within or without? Windows barred with metal crossings. Contorted creatures clinging to eaves spewing water. Sense of entrapment; of hard struggle for breath in dampness.
He swung legs out of bed, steadying himself against frame. Taxed and taken by dream, Darwin plunged head into basin. Water dripped like rain from his hair and face.
Night man bellowed forge fire; familiar dragon’s puff and flame.
Someone in their cups sang bawdily into the night, stagger and swagger, shaky stream against wall.
Bell marked the hour, deep and echo.
Far flap of sail ‘gainst mast, ship heaving.
If shutters wide, glass unbound set in wooden frame.
Yet, still felt ungrounded, as if pulled back by rough rope from another place. No more sleep this night; up so as to keep wet demons at bay.