Daryl Hine
"Sleep and Waking"

Slow to slip over the crumbling cliff of sleep,
I clutched at wood that would not bear my weight,
Root words which time derived from rude verb-stems,
Scrabbling at syntactic stratagems
For narrative. And yet I could not wait
For the moment when I fell asleep.

When will it happen? When you least expect
It, I expect. You cannot anticipate,
Nor even guess, the moment or the hour
When your wakefulness and mine will change to our
Insentient although all-knowing state—
Not ever, least of all in retrospect.

Beneath the cliff I glimpsed a little bay
With a sheltered, gently crescent strand
Lapped by playful waves, and knew that this
Vision of a fugitive abyss
Meant bliss and, startled, came to understand
Instantaneously: to sleep is to obey.

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