After the burial
we returned to our units
and assumed our poses.
Our posture was the new posture
and not the old sick posture.
When we left our stations
it was just to prove we could,
not a serious departure
or a search for yet another beginning.
We were done with all that.
We were settled in, as they say,
though it might have been otherwise.
What a story!
After the burial we returned to our units
and here is where I am experiencing
that lag kicking syndrome thing.
My leg, for no apparent reason,
flies around the room kicking stuff,
well, whatever is in its way,
like a screen or a watering can.
Those are just two examples
and indeed I could give many more.
I could construct a catalogue
of the things it kicks,
perhaps I will do that later.
We’ll just have to see if it’s really wanted.
Or I could do a little now
and then return to listing later.
It kicked the scrimshaw collection,
yes it did. It kicked the ocelot,
which was rude and uncalled for,
and yes hurtful. It kicked
the guacamole right out of its bowl,
which made for a grubby
and potentially dangerous workplace.
I was out testing the new speed bump
when it kicked the Viscountess,
which she probably deserved,
and I was happy, needless to say,
to not be a witness.
The kicking subsided for a while,
nobody was keeping track of time
at that time so it is impossible
to fill out the forms accurately.
Suffice it to say we remained
at our units on constant alert.
And then it kicked over the little cow town
we had set up for punching and that sort of thing,
a covered wagon filled with cover girls.
But now it was kicked over
and we had a moment of silence,
but it was clear to me
that many of our minions
were getting tetchy
and some of them were getting tetchier.
And then it kicked a particularly treasured snuff box
which, legend has it, once belonged to somebody
named Bob Mackey, so we were understandably
saddened and returned to our units rather weary.
No one seemed to think I was in the least bit culpable.
It was my leg, of course, that was doing the actual kicking,
of that I am almost certain.
At any rate, we decided to bury it.
After the burial we returned to our units
and assumed our poses.
A little bit of time passed, not much,
and then John’s leg started acting suspicious.
It looked like it wanted to kick the replica
of the White House we keep on hand
just for situations such as this.
And then, sure enough, it did.

Analysis, meaning and summary of James Tate's poem Restless Leg Syndrome


  1. Marina Gipps says:

    He is in a state of half-wake. An appendage has a mind of its own…proving it is smarter than the brain itself which censors itself out of fear. Why have that smart and contagious leg effect kick only a “replica” of the white house?

  2. Eyeball Hatred says:

    I saw something for this on TV.

    Eyeball Hatred

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