. Because I Shall Not Be Sleeping | London Progressive Journal
A non-partisan journal of the left.

Because I Shall Not Be Sleeping

Sat 2nd Apr 2016







Because I shall not be sleeping

beneath the bridge on cold cobblestones

in the drizzle of an autumn evening -

Because I shall not beg for my living

in the dusty streets of a city summer,

to chew upon the bones in the alley -

Because I shall not be wounded,

nor fearful of uniforms,

nor seeking refuge in unlikely places -

Because the sand will not burn me

in my barefoot exile

among the scorpions of my torment -

Because I do not thirst and hunger

for all that I see through the window

of a suburban afternoon -

I am indebted to those heroes

for whom there is no certainty

but the silence, but the stars


The debt is also to remembered shores

of those islands out of mind,

drifting through the darkness

of ocean,

only to return once more

at sunrise.

We know the islands

according to their seasons

that shape the way they appear

to us and others who are curious

to learn what separates land from water

and earth from sky, dark from light.

The land at sea so far reaches

where land is no longer,

not as we know soil and stone,

but a crossing of water,

a finger of silt stretching

to the horizon’s shimmer

assumed to be the world’s edge,

there being no beyond here,

all proposed as unknown,

charted by dreamers alone,

eyes closed and unawakened

when everyone is an island

apart from the otherness

named for us as somewhere.

The debt is repaid in contrasts.

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