Climb down into the caverns of sleep.
Kiss limbs you’ve never kissed.
Laugh at sorrow—at the comedic, weep.
Desire what you never desired,
Look for what you never missed.

What you cannot know
Creeps up on you at last.

Sleep is warm, maternal and slow,
That her children, the dreams, may be bright and fast.

When you climb down into the caverns of sleep,
Beware; this depth may be illusion
And your fate, which seems serious and profound,
Is only sleeping on the ground:
What you love is neither good nor deep.



  1. noochinator said,

    December 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    “Insomnia” by Quentin Crisp

    I live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, on Second Avenue just beyond redemption. I share a sordid block with the Angels, who drive their motorbikes up and down the street throughout the long, dark night to the annoyance of the neighbors, who complain of insomnia caused by this activity. I have pointed out to them that to object to noise in a big city—especially New York—is ridiculous, that what keeps them awake is their indignation that anyone can be so thoughtless.

    When you go to bed, resolve all anger, fear, or frustration. Indeed relinquish all thought. The absurd device of counting sheep is merely a transparent ruse for preventing you from thinking about anything important. Lie in bed, flat, spread out, and breathe deeply through your nose. Concentrate on your breathing, and if any thoughts other than of this activity enter your head, dismiss them. Live inside your body in the continuous present. Do not worry about what you did wrong yesterday or will almost certainly do wrong tomorrow. Lie still. Do not look at the clock. Shut your eyes and next day you will feel as rested as if you had slept.

    Napoleon only slept four hours a night. You should worry.

    Of course, it is easy for me to give this advice. I sleep all the time. I am what is grandly called narcoleptic. I sleep in the cinema, at the theater, in my room while watching television, or indeed anytime that I am not walking about. Perhaps that is why I have lived so long—and why I don’t rule the world.

    (from The Literary Insomniac: Stories and Essays for Sleepless Nights, edited by Elyse Cheney and Wendy Hubbert)

    • thomasbrady said,

      December 11, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Nice prose addendum to the poem. Thanks.

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