Tag Archives: sleep



It is ten o’clock
and those with jobs tomorrow
are going to bed in lilac,
marigold, shamrock pajamas
hoping dreams will not bring
periwinkles, baboons wearing
lacy socks and beaded belts
or those terrible tigers
who fight in red weather.

A salty old vagabond
homeless and drunk,
asleep in his stiff boots,
snores, smacks his lips
to taste the movie playing
on the screen of his shut lids—
a dream of white nightgowns
descending spiral stairs
to kiss him goodnight.

In Connecticut, a poet
crouched over his business
necktie, blotter, desk,
dips his pen deeper, ever
deeper into the bottomless
pit of precious obscurity
to feed a hunger for
another definition of what
disillusionment is like.



Near 3:00 a.m.
the call comes
without fail when
somnolence limps

through darkness
down the hall
and back to bed.

Then elegantly
curling, hanging
on the wisps of drowse
the wordings come

perfect wordings
for the saying of what
never has been said.

Must remember this
a weary whisper
tells the feathers
of the comforter

but when the morning
comes, it is as if
the wordings never were.



(Translated from the French of Louise Labé)

As soon as I begin to drift anew
In my bed’s feathery soft cave,
Toward the restfulness I crave,
Sadness wanders off, dissolves in you.

Then I realize the good that I pursue
And sigh so loudly for, I hold engraved
In my own heart, and I am laved
With such fierce sobbing I could break in two.

O happy night all mine! O gentle drowse,
Sweet rest so filled with peace—
Carry on my dream as nights go by.

And if my loving soul is not supposed
Ever to have good things in truth, at least
Then, let me have them in a lie.

…………………………………….© Cynthia Jobin, 2014
SONNET IX (English)

Tout aussi tôt que je commence à prendre
Dens le mol lit le repos désiré,
Mon triste esprit hors de moy retiré
S’en va vers toy incontinent se rendre.

Lors m’est avis que dedens mon sein tendre
Je tiens le bien, où j’ay tant aspiré,
Et pour lequel j’ay si haut souspiré,
Que de sanglots ay souvent cuidé fendre.

O dous sommeil, o nuit à moy heureuse!
Plaisant repos, plein de tranquilité,
Continuez toutes les nuiz mon songe:

Et si jamais ma povre âme amoureuse
Ne doit avoir de bien en vérité,
Faites au moins qu’elle en ait en mensonge.

SONNET IX (French)

As noted before (see SONNET II and SONNET VIII in archives) many translations of Louise Labé’s poetry already exist–some almost transliterations, others keeping close to lexical meaning but with little attention to the petrarchan poetic form she employed. Because French poetry is primarily syllabic and English poetry more accentual, I have observed the sonnet rhyme scheme and meter, but not the syllabic counts. What I have attempted is to make a poem from a poem.
Source: 1556 text in Renaissance French, from François Rigolot’s
Louise Labé: Oeuvres Complètes.