Somehow, over the years, “lullaby” has grown into a symbol in my writing.
For comparison’s sake, lullabies in real life entail quiet, soothing songs to help children fall asleep.
Lullabies in my head have come to represent clinging to childhood or innocence, art/beauty lost in the past, and the comfort we hold to to carry us through the darkest nights.
I can pinpoint exactly the first time I used lullabies like this.
I wrote a poem about my brother, detailing a dream where he left me and our friendship to get married, and I played the piano for his wedding, which meant I wasn’t there when I was supposed to meet his bride.
Then I was alone, walking with the memory of these lullabies we’d never sing again.
…sad stuff, right?
Then I wrote some more poems, and a book called Graveyard of Lullabies, and the symbol grew to represent healing, and surviving through terrible stuff and losing people you love, but also having this imaginary song that helps you sleep and find comfort through it all.
And also, laying to rest the past.
And also, finding new beauty again in the song you made up to survive.
So instead of a gentle, soothing song to put a child to sleep, lullabies make me think of blue rain and dark ice, swaying side to side, blankets and tears and hope and oblivion, the final fading note of a song beneath the last shred of dusk, starlight by the moon and saying goodbye, standing on your own in the dark in the middle of nowhere, billowing dreams.
Lullabies remind me of innocence, loss, gentle courage, art, and preserving love in the bitter dark. So, dear stranger, to help you sleep, I wish you the softest lullabies.