I stayed up hanging on the line last night
My eyeballs were putting up a terrible fight
With my lids defiant and the screen too bright
Skin so itchy in pyjamas, something wasn’t right
With the tablet scrolling, tapping black on grey
Skimming lousy fan fiction ‘til the break of day
Guilty pleasures to distract me from this state of play
Knowing all too well what he would have to say
I’ve been lounging round in bubble baths to help me snooze
With late night meditating, self-hypnosis, pills and booze
Relaxation seems an ever more elusive muse
Necking Nytol, chugging camomile but no good news
Been a long time now since I couldn’t sleep
Keeping busy, feeling dizzy ‘til the clock goes beep
Waking dreams so crammed with thoughts that slither dark and deep
Just keep walking through the daylight feeling ready to weep
When your brain won’t slow and your ears won’t close
And you’re feeling sort of coldy from your head to your toes
No hot toddy makes you noddy, as the restless grows
Squirming prone beneath the duvet in your sleeping clothes
But the minute you stretch to find your feet again
He starts complaining in his sleep and clutching at your hem
As his snoring fills your senses and you pray for REM
You’re still stuck playing teddy while you count to ten
Sick of sheep that wander wooly through your neural net
As you lie caught between ‘it’s bed-time’ and ‘not-breakfast-yet’
Swearing blue streaks in the curtains trying to forget
It’s been an hour since you last visited the cabinet
Essential oils to make you sleepy getting in your face
With the stink of lavender all over the place
Singing whales offend the cat but buy you no more grace
He steals the pillow, sprawling fur in every inch of space
When the sun comes sneaking through the soggy dawn
You’ve given up on any rest; just put your knickers on
Stumble downstairs grumbling looking pale and wan
Bag grabbed, you’re lurching to the bus stop with the zombie throng
How is it that I barely sleep at night, I ask myself?
I am exhausted, daily, so why torture thus my health?
‘Tis not some dark desire that somehow keeps me from my bed,
It’s just I cannot stop the buzzing thoughts inside my head.
Something is missing from my little world
Time passes so swiftly it’s almost absurd
As soon as my first daily job has been done
I’m already late starting on the next one.
Oh when will this treadmill let me catch my breath?
I’ve been working so hard, though young, I feel like death.
When finally homeward I wearily tread
It’s hardly worth sleeping, much less going to bed.
For changing to nightgown, brushing hair and teeth,
Wastes such precious time that I get no relief
And scrambling through supper and other routine
Makes senseless my efforts to rest or keep clean.
Even on the weekends, my work’s never done
As between friends and fam’ly, my time’s not my own.
Before I am ready it’s Monday alas,
And the whole wretched cycle starts over apace.
I look to the East as the sunrise begins
With the pale glow that lights up the dark.
The stars slowly fade as the morning alarm
Tries to drown out the air of the lark.
I stretch with a yawn and feel five hours older
Though I may have passed them in sleep
And groan as my feet reach to meet the cold floor
When to my bed they rather would keep.
As I fill up the kettle and stand at the counter
My week-daily headache begins
And I curse the poor souls, who even before dawn
Have been sent out to empty the bins.
As the toast I smell charring and burning away,
I gaze at the clock ‘cross the room,
And noting the numbers that glow on the dial
I growl “Saturday” into the gloom.
I leave the light on, late at night,
I don’t quite dare to face the night.
Leaping from the floor to bed
In case some creature grabs a leg.
For who can tell what lies beneath
Childhood terrors cause much grief
And only morning brings relief from
Witches, Goblins, Vampire teeth.
I close the curtains, windows, door,
Yet leave a light on down the hall.
I cross my fingers, sneak a peep,
Hold my breath and pray for sleep.
The windows rattle, floorboards creak,
The wardrobe holds demonic sheep
Whose glowing eyes are keeping watch,
Counting seconds, ‘mid my socks.
I’ve hated bedtime all my life.
I rarely sleep, but feel the knife,
The cold sweat trickling down my spine,
My sister’s snoring – sleeping fine.
And yet I daren’t drift myself,
Fearful of some vile elf.
Reading, writing, all night long,
Drawing pictures, whispering songs,
Anything I can devise
To keep from closing these tired eyes
Until at last the morning’s come, and,
Gentle saviour, brought the sun.
Then at last my watch will end,
Trusting in my faithful friend
Who watches me from day to day
And holds my demons all at bay:
Light will keep my dreams quite pure,
So I may fall to sleep once more.