Recipe for Sweet Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? Take a handful of poems, and with a glass of fresh spring water! Below are several worthy soporifics from the apothecary of poetry.


The Day is Done
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness 
      Falls from the wings of Night, 
As a feather is wafted downward 
      From an eagle in his flight. 

I see the lights of the village 
      Gleam through the rain and the mist, 
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me 
      That my soul cannot resist: 

A feeling of sadness and longing, 
      That is not akin to pain, 
And resembles sorrow only 
      As the mist resembles the rain. 

Come, read to me some poem, 
      Some simple and heartfelt lay, 
That shall soothe this restless feeling, 
      And banish the thoughts of day. 

Not from the grand old masters, 
      Not from the bards sublime, 
Whose distant footsteps echo 
      Through the corridors of Time. 

For, like strains of martial music, 
      Their mighty thoughts suggest 
Life’s endless toil and endeavor; 
      And to-night I long for rest. 

Read from some humbler poet, 
      Whose songs gushed from his heart, 
As showers from the clouds of summer, 
      Or tears from the eyelids start; 

Who, through long days of labor, 
      And nights devoid of ease, 
Still heard in his soul the music 
      Of wonderful melodies. 

Such songs have power to quiet 
      The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction 
      That follows after prayer. 

Then read from the treasured volume 
      The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 
      The beauty of thy voice. 

And the night shall be filled with music, 
      And the cares, that infest the day, 
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
      And as silently steal away. 


Rest After War
by Kevin Trammel

The stone that sleeps
beneath the pine
its troubles are no more:

the pressing heat, the searing flame
of earth’s volcanic turmoil
have marched their warring legions far
away beyond the forest door

their cacophonous clang and drum
expired from any memory

(Find this and other lovely poems in my books Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


Now the sun is sinking
In the golden west;
Birds and bees and children
All have gone to rest;
And the merry streamlet,
As it runs along,
With a voice of sweetness
Sings its evening song.

Cowslip, daisy, violet,
In their little beds,
All among the grasses
Hide their heavy heads;
There they’ll all, sweet darlings,
Lie in the happy dreams.
Till the rosy morning
Wakes them with its beams.



The lark is silent in his nest,
The breeze is sighing in its flight,
Sleep, Love, and peaceful be thy rest.
Good-night, my love, good-night, good-night.

-Paul Laurence Dunbar


Sunk is the sun behind the western trees;
And the long shadows melt into the dusk;
The garden-flowers look palely from hushed leaves,
Scenting the breeze with heavy-laden sweets.

Now falls the night, down-sifting through the air
Lulled waftures of soft-dripping silences;
And slumber-breathing darkness shrouds thine eyes.

The idle hands lie folded in the lap,
Forgetting the long travail of the day;
The playthings we call work are all put by;
And all the rankling of the bitter world,
Like a dull snake, coils up itself to sleep;
And peace falls, like a flutter of white doves.

-From “At Nightfall”, by Albert Phelps


To Sleep
by John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.


Sleep, sweet sleep,
sigh the day’s last sigh
and heed the long day’s cry
for surrender, succor, and surcease
at last in saving sleep.
Solemn, still, serene and silent
standing tall as the silken Cyprus
which paints the pale sky
with long cottony strokes
of rich black ink…

At last, no more to think.
Let the weighty time leaden with care
collapse in dust beneath the stair
which I ascend with sleep
enrobed of dreams
emitting radiant sunshine beams
aloft, afloat, loved at last
supping contentment in
stillness’ rich repast…

Sleep, sweet sleep
sigh the day’s last sigh
and carry me on silent midnight feet
upon the shimmering star paved road
where healing dreams have their abode;
there by bubbling streams restoring,
and upon a sandy sleepy lapping shore,
lay me soft and let me wake no more.

O sleep, soft enchanting sleep,
carry me on your starry midnight streams
where nothing is as it seems
and lock me in your hidden keep.
Teach me again the riddle of sleep.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


At last the day bows towards its sleep
in reddened face of lingering sun
which quickly closes last its eyes and seeks
another sky… where others run
their daily course and toil.

Here, in blanket of cricket song
and promise of moon,
stillness has won its throne and soon
will stretch itself wide and long
towards boundless space and deep into the soil,
and become a sea…
whereon I’ll place my secret boat
and let full sails fall free.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


How comforting!


and calm.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


Incantation for Sleep

Upon the trees a hush of softly rustling leaves descends
A stream of whispering waters through the forest wends
A traveler rests with cloak he quietly mends
And I close up the boundless tome of thoughtful ends.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


Gus the cat is making
his little sleeping sounds
as the still night’s cathedral sky
drops silk curtains upon the trees
and the moon’s silver tide
glimmers in the folds.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)


Balm and Benediction

Let sleep fall like warm rain —
dreamless as a moonless night,
soundless as the stars,
deep and still as
the forest pond that reflects them,
imbibed and sated as the roots of cedars
stretching into water laden loam.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

About ktrammel

Author of Gathered Rain, and Between the Hours, which can be found on Amazon. Read more on my sites,, or
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