Pilgrim’s Poem 7

Sleep is a ghost in the cold
On the hard chill of metal benches
And tile floor
Where wind runs round and round
Like an embittered surgeon.
Sleep is a phantom one waking dreams of
While waiting for sleeping dream’s respite.
A lover long gone from your bed
Whose imprint on the sheets fades
Whose place on the pillow evaporates
Leaving you in waiting for their return.
Sleep is a sailor gone on the sea
You wait for nightly by the lighthouse gleam
A ghost whose resurrection you anticipate
And eagerly await.


At last, safe and warm with roof over head
You let yourself fall knowing that bed
Whom you’ve missed, that kindly friend
Will rush up to catch you.
The pillow a trusting lap upon which to lay your grateful head
And sheets and quilt are loving arms—
Left and right—
Sweeping in to enfold and to hold
And the soft supple mattress
Into which to sink…
And sinking’s so sweet
When sleep meets you there.
Sleep! Sleep with sand in hand to cast you into dreams
Quickly as your hair is upon the pillow
Into sleeping sinks…
So deep that even dreaming waits
To watch you peacefully lie.


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