Death humbled is no more than brief sleep.
So says Donne, impudent, confident poet.
But if rest and sleep be indeed just poor pictures of death,
What then of sleepless nights, of restless sleep?
Are nightmares harbingers of hell?
Do we toss and turn, each long night, in sleepless beds
As we will, one eternal day, toss and burn in hell?
Ah, please, God, no, say it ain’t so.
It is eternity enough to lie with wayward thoughts
Black as a moonless starless sky, dark as lowering unplayful clouds
Restless as winds that gust only regrets, toppling my flimsy barricades of excuses.
Death, though humbled, remains powerful: Storm enough to sink sleep
Leaving me stranded on a dark sea of doubt, flaying, treading memory’s wakefulness
As the buoys of faith and peace brush my eyelids, only to surge away.