I’ve been having a recurrence of my sleep issues … it’s all that’s on my mind of late. So to exorcize those demons, I’m asking for sleep poems. Poems about sleep, not to put me to sleep. Getting the words out of my system may have great effect.


Not to Mention the Smell of Wet Wool

Thought by now I’d be asleep,
but I’m not, because these sheep
will not let me close my eyes,
will not sing me lullabies,
gripe and whine and bleat and cry,
in from rain, they then drip-dry
on my pillow and bedspread,
on my PJs and my head,
arguing amongst themselves,
busting up my bedroom shelves,
dancing with their noisy hooves,
(must admit they’ve got the moves)…
I could just go on and on.
Woe to me, here comes the dawn.
Counting sheep must be unwise.
Next time, I’ll just close my eyes.

© Marie Elena Good, 2023
(No sleep for you!)

yearning for the rest
I crave. Save me
from this tossing,
Burning the midnight oil,
my need for sleep.
weeping for relief
my belief is
is churning in my head.
Stuck in this bed
without a clue
what to do,
how do you keep
asleep while I’m
discerning my plight
I’ve been up all night
to my
Sandman fighting,
Bed bugs biting,
I’m begging on my knees,
please, oh pleazzzzzzzzzzzz.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik 

67 thoughts on “PROMPT #420 – TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE


    have you forsaken me!

    have you abandoned

    to the pit
    of eristical

    to the drool
    of long dark

    that mock
    me as I
    hunt for sleep

    the shadows
    have known

    they snicker
    as they keep
    the score

    In the deep
    wail for

    they seek
    my wretched

    lift my eyes
    as they begin
    to fail

    They are
    preying upon
    the prey

    as the earth
    turns about on
    its axis

    the days
    the nights
    all turn

    they turn

    the page
    but the story

    as always.

    ©️ Benjamin Thomas


    Here lies Willy Boy Wright,
    decidedly dead of sestina fright.
    He was found
    in a sleep so sound
    that Lucifer danced around
    with all his might,
    but could not excite
    him to rise up and write.
    Defeated by the terrors
    of thirty-nine lines,
    he had made many errors
    within its confines
    and had dropped on the floor
    at line thirty-four.
    He used to say, dejectedly,
    “a sestina will be the death of me.”
    Wright was right.

  3. Lesser of Two Evils

    Insomnia plagued me through the years
    Bringing me often to wee AM tears
    I made a decision that made doctors quiver
    I chose between insomnia and risking my liver
    So now each night I take Tylenol PM
    And manage to go beyond the REM


    I’ve found me a cure for my sleepy-time issues
    that doesn’t require lots of pills or warm tissues.

    It works like a charm when I’m trying to sleep;
    in fact, the result is a slumber so deep

    that a siren could sound at the foot of my bed
    and I’d still be unmoving, much deader than dead.

    So here’s what I do when deep sleep eludes me:
    I give me a dose of me own poetry.

  5. Conundrum

    through nights, dark and deep,
    there are many who fret,
    unable to sleep,
    and one aches for them, yet
    for others it’s the reverse,
    the struggle of night,
    an opposite curse,
    one hurtful, with fright.
    It’s the nature, you see,
    the battle for some,
    those with PTSD,
    whose morning can’t come
    soon enough to be free
    of the nightmares and pain,
    the frustration dreams,
    the panic again,
    and as good as it seems,
    waking still won’t avail,
    because you know what they say,
    it’s a life sentence, this PTSD jail,
    during the night or the day.

  6. Hotel Suite

    after evening news
    and the reading
    of a good chapter
    lights out

    a lush room
    my home for the night

    eyes closed

    when touched by dreams
    I can be

    a hero or a villain
    or any character
    while lying in bed

    and devil’s lake rests
    just miles away

    sweet sounds of silence
    eyes blink

    while the passing moon
    ghosts a cloud
    outside my window


    before the mind becomes
    too weary
    too dreary
    without query
    put it to
    an imagination test
    to rest
    at the very best
    an absolutely amazing sight
    real or imagined
    fashioned by you
    on this night
    perhaps a wander
    by still waters
    a lazy sea
    full of otters
    a palm tree in the sand
    holding a very
    special hand
    remembering something wonderful
    only you two
    a fond place to just drift
    no concerns
    absent of rifts
    allow yourself to float
    in the water
    in a boat
    nothing to work on
    nothing to fix
    free of any
    of the age old
    a conscious letting go
    you’ll return
    this you know
    just give your mind
    enough of a break
    just go fishing
    in your favorite lake
    put those worries
    off to the side
    leave them alone
    maybe they’ll hide
    give yourself total permission
    to create your space
    special place
    no fair using the kitchen
    see all the beautiful colors
    wherever you go
    immerse yourself in each
    then go seek
    that sandy beach
    feel that new energy wash over you
    let it soothe
    and comfort, too
    by then you’re in sleepy land
    a lovely place
    on the warmth of sand
    sleeping well
    and sleeping tight
    my guess is
    you’ll sleep peacefully
    all night

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2023

  8. I wrote this just a few days ago about a disturbing dream I had … I tamed it down somewhat because the encounter with the bear kept me awake the rest of the night.

    When the Moon is Full

    Stars can be shining bright
    But I can sleep…
    Even a crescent moon
    Does not keep me awake.

    But when the moon is full…
    The light disturbs my sleep, and
    The shadows in my forest
    Seem to move and mutate
    As the trees stand guard
    Cloaked in silver.

    I went to sleep restless,
    But yet I fell deep into the abyss
    Of deep sleep with no chance
    To escape what dreams awaited me.

    I found myself walking up my hill
    While I slept, and I looked down
    And I was wearing my purple
    Slinkey night gown that flowed around me.

    I asked myself,
    “Did I get out of bed?”
    But I heard myself snore
    And knew I was still asleep.

    There the moon sat high in the sky,
    And I heard the deep whooo
    Of the owl that ruled the night.
    I started to sit down,
    And there before me was a bear…
    More brown than black…

    He huffed a warning at me,
    And I stood still
    For I wanted to know
    From where he came…
    Was he the bear
    That lives in my forest?
    Others have seen him, but I have not.

    He walked slowly towards me,
    And I felt I should flee, but
    My feet were stuck in mud
    That I had not known was there before.

    I felt in my pocket…
    A key made of gold,
    But wait my nightgown
    Had no pocket, and
    I don’t remember owning a key of gold.

    The bear came closer, and
    I held out the key.
    He sniffed it in my hand,
    And turned to walk away.

    The owl flew close to me
    And whispered in his deep owl’s voice.
    “Remember to keep that key close,
    For it is the knowledge you possess.
    It will keep you save,”
    And then he took to flight
    Under the full moon,
    And as his wings moved silently
    He glowed silver in the moon’s light.

    I felt the butt of a head against my arm,
    And I woke up
    For there was my cat Binkey
    Wanting his head rubbed
    Which he got
    While I pondered the meaning
    Of the encounter with the bear, and
    The words of the owl.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 5, 2023

  9. Asleep in a Fairy Tale

    Little Bo-Peep
    lost her sheep,
    and could not
    go to sleep.

    Sleeping Beauty
    slept a long time
    She was shrewdly
    awaiting kiss of a prince.

    Snow White slept well
    after fear and escape.
    The dwarves treated her swell,
    unbeknownst to queen with lying mirror.

    Rip Van Winkel, simple farmer
    strolled in to the Catskills.
    Met some gnomes. It was his karma
    to drink their spirits and sleep twenty years.

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  11. Sleep Napnia

    It started almost a decade ago
    After a 5 bypass surgery
    My mind would beg me for sleep
    But my body refused to be weary

    Still I’d try to get comfy on my left side
    Then again I would try on my right
    Finally I would find that position
    But it never ever lasted all night

    For two hours or sometimes three
    Nothing moved on my side of the bed
    My breathing was so shallow my wife
    Would shake me to make sure I wasn’t dead

    Then like clockwork I’d wake from my sleep
    Body aches had returned like bad friends
    No way was I gonna get comfortable
    Had to move around ‘til the body aches end

    Usually one or two hours would pass
    By this time I was in my man chair
    I’d curl up with my blanket and pillow and
    Spend the next couple hours right there

    This messed up sleep schedule demanded
    An afternoon nap to fight the tired
    I’ve sort of gotten used to this sleep routine
    I just thank God that I’m retired

  12. Sleep is
    It takes hours away
    From the short time we have down here
    We won’t need sleep in Heaven

  13. Senior Sleeper

    Now I lay me down to sleep
    Diabetic socks upon my feet
    To mask my toe neuropathy
    In hopes good sleep will come to me

    I hit the button to raise my bed
    My Pillow fluffed under my head
    My Sleep Number set at an even 60
    Too hard for mom, but just right for me

    A small pillow tucked between my knees
    Vicks on my nose so I won’t sneeze
    Snuggled in just like I wanna
    Wrapped up like an enchilada

    Ceiling fan provides air flow
    Floor fan white noise helps, you know
    Drifting off, almost asleep
    Darn, forgot to brush my teeth.

  14. Awake

    Jordan Branch sleeps
    through the misty morning
    water not even breathing
    no current singing beneath
    the old country bridge
    surface still as death
    its glassy eye reflecting
    watery sun high cloud
    even though wide-eyed
    deer and cattle graze neighboring fields
    circling round bales the last soybean

    Hawks scream overhead
    and I wonder how they slept
    if the hooting of owls
    is lullaby or cacophony
    if the descant of the coyote
    music or only yowling

    ponder too if in the deer blind
    the buy who parked his silver 4×4
    on the road dozed his way through the chill
    of a Kansas dawn rifle drooping
    in his gloved hands

    and if turtles below skim ice
    slumber in their winter stupors
    dreaming of spring tadpoles
    the swam of errant mayflies

    so many kinds of sleep keeping me

  15. This is the actual dream… I had this just before Christmas

    The Night of the Bear
    (The Dream I did not dare to say)

    I was out in the cold,
    I was shivering in the rain
    That pelted me like tiny spears…
    And I knew that rain would
    Soon be freezing…
    I was hurrying in the dark
    Where no moon or stars
    Could penetrate the storm
    Around me.

    I dropped my flashlight
    My only hope of getting home.
    It rolled off the road
    Into the deep ravine
    That I knew was the hollow.
    I reminded myself
    If I just stayed on the road
    I would eventually see the light
    At the corner of my house,
    That is if the power was still on.

    I dreamed of taking a hot bath,
    And feeling my bones warm,
    But I reminded myself
    That was still a ways to go.

    The trees like lace against the dark sky
    Were more like cobwebs than lace…
    I knew I should not have walked out,
    But I needed to clear my heart’s mind…
    And instead, I was stranded
    In total darkness
    With no answers in sight.
    I was getting closer.

    Then lumbering in the road,
    Was a big brown bear
    That when he saw me
    Stood on his hind feet
    While slapping if front paws together.
    He led out a roar…
    That echo through the dark
    And bounced off the trees,
    And all I could see was his teeth gleaming.

    I heard my mind shout,
    “Wake up; Wake UP!”
    But I did not listen…
    I was frozen in place
    As the storm raged
    Around me,
    And I knew this was something
    That I must face.
    I was still as a statue,
    And heard again
    My mind whimper,
    “Wake up, please.”
    But I didn’t.

    The bear dropped on all fours,
    And began to huff,
    Which I knew was a warning.
    He bounced side to side,
    And mesmerized in fear
    I watched with eyes unblinking.

    He started to charge but stopped,
    And instead, ambled up to me,
    And in my face roared.

    MY eyes grew steady,
    And I looked into the eyes
    Of the bear, and knew
    I would not go down without fighting.

    He looked into my eyes
    Fierce with fear
    Because fighters fear,
    While warriors fight with purpose,
    I was a warrior.

    It was eye to eye this battle was fought,
    And in the end,
    He huffed in my face, and
    I thought he needed to brush his teeth,
    And smiled at that thought.
    He walked beside me into the dark,
    And I felt life flowing through me.

    There up ahead was my blue flashlight
    Laying in the middle of the road.
    I grabbed it up and headed on home…
    Tired but thankful
    For the journey
    That reminded me who I was.

    It was then I woke up,
    In a house with total darkness.
    I have pondered this for weeks, and
    Knew again that I would survive
    Whatever life threw at me.
    Until that day
    I simply closed my eyes and went home.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 11, 2023

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