the pains of sleep…

Having been on this parenting road for the last 14 or so years I can tell you the thing I took for granted bc (before children) was sleep. This is a common refrain for parents everywhere. Now that all of my kids are more or less sleeping in their own beds and more or less sleeping all night long one might suppose that my sleep has gotten back on schedule. However, it seems I’ve gained some kind of super spidey sense along the way. No matter how deep a sleep I’m in I wake with a start at the smallest cough or whimper coming from any room in the house. I sit bolt upright, listen a moment to scope the situation and decide best action. It comes in real handy at stomach flu season.

Unfortunately, this means that I’m still absent long periods of uninterrupted snoozing.

Add to that the exciting addition of stress induced insomnia I’ve been rockin lately and it’s a recipe for daytime restlessness, crankiness and even mild depression. It really cuts into my ninja parenting skillz.

So for this here poetry tuesday I’m turning to Samuel Taylor Coleridge for some somber insights. It’s not my normal gig where poetry is concerned but it’s got its share of awesome in those rhyming lines.


The Pains of Sleep

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eyelids close,
With reverential resignation,
No wish conceived, no thought expressed,
Only a sense of supplication;
A sense o’er all my soul impressed
That I am weak, yet not unblessed,
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal strength and wisdom are.

But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did:
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.

So two nights passed: the night’s dismay
Saddened and stunned the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper’s worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O’ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin, –
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.


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