A Good Poem: Insomniac


I read this poem a few days ago on the Writer’s Almanac and it made me think of love. How lucky we are to have love and friendship in our lives. 

Wishing you many blessings!


by Galway Kinnell

I open my eyes to see how the night

is progressing. The clock glows green,

the light of the last-quarter moon

shines up off the snow into our bedroom.

Her portion of our oceanic duvet

lies completely flat. The words

of the shepherd in Tristan, “Waste

and empty, the sea,” come back to me.

Where can she be? Then in the furrow

where the duvet overlaps her pillow,

a small hank of brown hair

shows itself, her marker that she’s here,

asleep, somewhere down in the dark

underneath. Now she rotates

herself a quarter turn, from strewn

all unfolded on her back to bunched

in a Z on her side, with her back to me.

I squirm nearer, careful not to break

into the immensity of her sleep,

and lie there absorbing the astounding

quantity of heat a slender body

ovens up around itself.

Her slow, purring, sometimes snorish,

perfectly intelligible sleeping sounds

abruptly stop. A leg darts back

and hooks my ankle with its foot

and draws me closer. Immediately

her sleeping sounds resume, telling me:

“Come, press against me, yes, like that,

put your right elbow on my hipbone, perfect,

and your right hand at my breasts, yes, that’s it,

now your left arm, which has become extra,

stow it somewhere out of the way, good.

Entangled with each other so, unsleeping one,

together we will outsleep the night.” 

“Insomniac” by Galway Kinnell, from Strong is Your Hold. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

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