“Ah, Sleep, You Come Not”

Sylvia Townsend Warner

Ah, Sleep, you come not, and I do not chide you.

You the ever-young, the sleek and the supple,

How should I bride you

Who am so harsh with care, so grimed with trouble?

 

You to the child’s cot and the lover’s pillow,

You to the careless creation in field and steading,

And to my roof-mate swallow

Come with goodwill, who come not to my dull bidding.

 

Like lies down with like. If I am to woo you

I must disguise myself, and in youth’s green

Habit pursue you,

Or imagine myself to what I never have been:

 

Or you in pity put on death’s leaden likeness

To follow my weariness.

 

Sylvia Townsend Warner