Sestina

Silent as winter the sleepy child plays
With teardrops and glistening, hopeful rainbows,
A smile and a whimper, singing for sleep,
Slowly enticing the fullness of dreams,
The light of the daytime long, long away,
The darkness of bedrooms a sweeping blanket.
 
Half-hiding, half-swimming within the blanket,
The happiest, loneliest of children plays,
Diving in oceans, floating, flying away.
He lifts up his pillow to look for rainbows,
And finding none settles for silence and dreams,
The tranquil adventurer’s resting place: sleep.
 
And yet sometimes, a lost explorer, Friend Sleep
Goes missing in jungles beyond the blanket,
Evading the meeting-place of their bright dreams.
Stood up once too often, the waking child plays
And prays in the soil behind the rainbows,
The sunlight of dreamscapes nighttimes away.
 
And singing and dancing and crying away,
The child, an old man, wrestles with sleep.
Confused by the hints and myths of rainbows,
He looks through the sky and finds a blanket;
Holding to mountains and cliff-faces, plays
And prays in the echoes of faraway dreams.
 
The fading and echoing folksong of dreams
Promises heaven just inches away,
So biding time, inching to sleep, the child plays,
Then falling in wakefulness, yells out to sleep,
A torrent of shouting; the sea of the blanket
Ripples with shock, shatters mirrored rainbows.
 
Can he be told, he’s not lost the rainbows?
They’re hiding in safety within heaven’s dreams.
Obscured by wakefulness, an opaque blanket,
He can’t hear their echoes, hoping away,
And so sinks from playing, so sinks in sleep,
Midnight forgetting the games that he plays.
 
The hope of the morning just rainbows away,
He dreams at last, clutching the last drift of sleep,
And floating upon his blanket-raft, plays.

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