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



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


Over the silent park the low mist hangs;

Blue and smoky shadow maps carved in relief.

Distant silver giants glimpsed through leaves

Glare across the distance.

Brush away the fog and bare the bones;

Chill fingers writing in the sky,

Stark words, bleak prose.

Step back into the small hours and give in.

Waiting For Silence

As the day falls away,

As the dark settles in,

As the sounds simmer down,

As the cold rises up,

As the stars flicker on,

As the calm wanders out,

I will stand and I’ll wait for the silence.


With the day dying out,

With the dark climbing up,

With the sounds moving on,

With the cold biting in,

With the stars staring down,

With the calm far away,

I will stand and I’ll wait for the silence.


If the day is used up,

If the dark has come out,

If the sounds fade away,

If the cold hunkers down,

If the stars will bed in,

If the calm clambers on

I will stand and I’ll wait for the silence.


So, the day has moved on

So, the dark battens down

So, the sounds huddle in

So, the cold has spread out

So, the stars dance away

So, the calm rises up,

I will stand and I’ll wait for the silence.


When the day has caved in,

When the dark is switched on,

When the sounds have panned out,

When the cold claws away,

When the stars have stepped up,

When the calm filters down,

I will stand and I’ll wait for the silence.


Now the day is worn down,

Now the dark streaks away,

Now the sounds jumble up,

Now the cold fastens on,

Now the stars stagger out,

Now the calm trickles in,

Here I stand as I wait for the silence.

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!


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.


He runs along the verge, his tail hung down,
His fur reflecting red beneath the moon,
Home neither in the country nor the town.
He hurries lest the day should come too soon.
Light steals all prospects of a hearty meal;
A tender pullet or a careless hare.
He begs the wind such off’rings to reveal.
That he might snatch and carry to his lair.
Yet, many days his belly only sees
The stretching hours of starving fretful rest,
With nothing that his hunger would appease.
These are the times that form the wild thing’s test.
Unending seem the nights for such as he;
Such is the price to pay for being free.

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.