night music

if i could sleep, i’d miss the night-time’s hum,

the distant rattling railway train,

the rolling empty tin.

i listen to this urban symphony

till light.

 

if i could sleep, i’d miss the thoughts that come

to gallop through my restless brain,

or settle down within.

that’s why i do not ask for sympathy

tonight.

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Sleepless

Will I ever sleep a whole night through?

Sometimes, I don’t think I ever will.

Experts tell me what I ought to do

And yet I find myself unsleeping still.

Can I give myself up to the dreams?

Hoping that my body will obey

The orders that my mind will surely give,

To rest until the night has turned to day.

Can I still the thoughts that churn and rage?

Nudging me from on the edge of sleep.

How can I embrace the lures of rest

And melt into the folds of slumber deep?

I will never sleep a whole night through.

Nothing I can do will lead me there.

I must accept that it’s not meant to be

And steel myself until I cease to care

The Whole Day Blues

Well, I woke up in the morning

And the sun streamed in the room,

I wish I’d had the curtains closed

I sleep better in the gloom.

I’ve got the blues.

I’ve got those half asleep blues.

 

I’m tired right through the daytime.

I’ve got the whole day blues!

 

So I got up and I drank some tea,

To make me feel awake,

But I hadn’t switched the kettle on

And that was my first mistake.

I’ve got the blues.

I’ve got those half asleep blues.

 

I’m tired right through the daytime.

I’ve got the whole day blues!

 

Then by the time I started work

I thought I was okay,

Till I signed an email with a kiss

And sent it on its way.

I’ve got the blues.

I’ve got those half asleep blues.

 

I’m tired right through the daytime.

I’ve got the whole day blues!

 

By lunchtime I was wide awake,

My mind was free of doubt,

But it turns out that my cardigan

Had been on inside out.

I’ve got the blues.

I’ve got those half asleep blues.

 

I’m tired right through the daytime.

I’ve got the whole day blues!

 

And when the day was over

And I got back in my bed,

I couldn’t get to sleep with all

The things stuck in my head.

I’ve got the blues.

I’ve got those wide awake blues.

 

Keep wakin’ in the night time.

I’ve got the whole day blues!

Unbending Sleep

Sleep is no friend to me,

No gentle end for me,

Sleep will not bend to me.

Unruly sleep!

 

Sleep lays a trap for me,

Aims a sharp slap at me,

Sleep leaves a gap in me.

Unfeeling sleep!

 

Sleep turns a light on me,

Makes it too bright for me,

Sleep pulls the night from me.

Unseeing sleep!

 

Sleep runs away from me,

Simply won’t stay for me,

Sleep will not lay with me.

Uncaring sleep!

Questions

Did I leave the oven on?
Did I lock the door?
Did I hear the stair creak?
Can I hear it anymore?
Did I shut the window?
Did I call the cat?
Did I send that email?
Was that noise a rat?
Can I pay the mortgage?
Who will fix the car?
Did I wash the school clothes?
Who knows where they are?
Have we any cereal?
Is there any bread?
When is my appointment?
Should I cancel it instead?
What’s that actor been in?
Why’s the wifi slow?
Did I pay the milkman?
Where did that spider go?
Have I put some weight on?
Are my clothes too tight?
These are things I think when I
Lie down to sleep at night.

The Wakeful

You who sleep believe the world stands still.
You miss the clatter of the postal trains,
The hiss of cats beneath the window sill.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe the world sleeps too.
You miss the wailing of the hungry babes,
The cabs that come and go the whole night through.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe the world packs in.
You miss the barking of the scamp’ring fox,
The reedy racket of a wind-blown bin.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe that life shuts down.
You miss the footsteps of the night-shift gang,
The clink of floats that cart the milk through town.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe we’re all at rest.
You miss the rustling as we shift and twist,
The heartbeat thudding deep within the chest.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

Churlish Night

I came to resent the night

For its mystery, its beauty, its perfect peace.

While I, carrying my turmoil like a bundle of my worldly goods,

Had none of those things

And never would.

But, in the ping of the raindrops and the screech of the wind,

I saw the night’s eyes blink

And realised she’d trade in a heartbeat,

Yet had no heartbeat to trade.

Two losers caught in a forced embrace:

The churlish night … and me.

All-nighter

Daytime crawls in from an all-night party,

Sheepish and trying to hide.

But given away by the racket of birds,

Holding sway outside.

It drags its soiled coat behind it,

Grey with a tinge of blue.

Trips on the milk on the doorstep

And stumbles its way up to you.

 

You’re in no mood to hear its reasons,

Tired from lying awake.

You don’t want to listen to any excuses,

Daytime might struggle to make!

You wish it would try

To creep in quietly,

Try not to wake the street!

Instead of creating a terrible rumpus

And tripping on its own feet.

 

Night doesn’t land like a cat on a bin lid,

Night comes with whispers and sighs.

Rivers of dusk and clouds of darkness

Drift in and fill up the skies.

While you aren’t looking, the evening creeps in,

Spreading its treasures your way,

Wrapping you up in its blanket of care

As certain as night follows day.

Insomnia

I curse the ticking of the clock, the wind’s shrill voice, the sounds of night.

As in the darkened room I stiffly lie,

Awaiting sleep’s long-missing touch that hides for spite,

She hates me and avoids me but I don’t know why.

I‘d not, before, abused her name, opposed her will or stooped to fight

Against her as the hours passed swiftly by,

Yet as I watch the shadows turn to light,

She laughs at my despair and spurns my pleading cry.

 

Time was, I must have slept in peace, so long ago, I don’t know when.

Perhaps just as a babe tucked in my cot,

Enjoying dreams of things that mattered then,

Of dolls? Of milk?  Whatever, be it so or be it not,

I dare not think I’ll ever know such times of peace again.

I won’t pretend I have some idea what

To do to tempt this harpy from her den

And so this peaceless, restless night remains my piteous lot.