My sleep pattern has never been great and has deteriorated since 2006. Most nights I have a period of wakefulness but have learned to be calm about it. Lying waiting for sleep to come back, reading, getting up for a drink or a pee are all part of the tactics to avoid upheaval. I have noticed that if I can sleep between six am and ten am I seem to get sufficient REM sleep to keep me going. Not at all a scientific conclusion but it works for me. Then of course, sometimes that all goes out the window. One such time elicited the piece below, as I frantically attempted to recapture some equilibrium. I was reading Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin at the time.

So read, enjoy, pass it on, send me comments through the link below.

Turmoil of the Night

            After Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin


Sheep stared at me when I woke

those same I counted at start of night

I tossed endlessly unhinging

sheet from mattress

bunching under back bum thighs

adding to discomfort - sleep failure


On replay no observable cause explains

whirling brain itched skin jumping legs

blinking eyelids increased body heat

working together with canny success

to maintain frantic wakefulness - 

Counted sheep were impassive unimpressed


Peter Clarke

29th Dec 2022

They'll Cut Us Down Again, 2020

Christina Quarles Centre Pompidou