I composed this poem one night when I couldn’t sleep. It was also partly inspired by hearing about an ancient method of hunting where two or three hunters with only basic weapons would run for days, pursuing an animal until it was exhausted and then kill it. In the poem, I compare the process of trying really hard to get to sleep to this kind of hunting.
Through the wilderness of night, I hunt sleep
Spear in hand, I try to run her down.
Sleep waits, bating her breath,
She is a dark shape, crouching in the apple tree
In the moonlit garden, slipping away
Across the shadow-dappled lawn.
Sleep pads, lynx-like about the house,
Until a board creaks and she leaps
Startled, into the dark valley of the stairs.
The headlights of a passing car
Wash the bedroom wall with light
Her onyx eyes blink; and elide
into the buckle of a belt upon a chair.
As the light blue of a spring dawn
Filters through the window blind, sleep wearies
She sighs out; gurgling like the radiator pipes
As the heating comes on.
At last, I run her to ground
I thrust my spear deep into sleep’s heart.
In her death throes, she cries out
With the sound of an alarm clock.