THE BALM OF WOE – Marilyn Armstrong

 There’s no making up for a lifetime of too little sleep.

A while ago, I asked Garry if he thought I would ever catch up on the years of very little or no sleep.

He said “no” and I think the same goes for him. We lived for many decades on short hours and long days. I still don’t sleep well.

There’s no way to make up for a lifetime of lost sleep. Some morning’s are better than others, but in the end, there’s always tiredness, the wistful feeling a couple more hours of sleep would have been so nice.

Have you ever met a dog with insomnia?

In answer to this morning’s question, I think the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to dive into life was before my son was born — more than 49 years ago …

Come Sleep, O Sleep …

Sir Philip Sidney

Come, Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
Th’ indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof shield me from out the press
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw!
O make in me those civil wars to cease!—
I will good tribute pay if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf of noise and blind of light,
A rosy garland, and a weary head;
And if these things, as being thine in right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella’s image see.

NOTE: If you read this sonnet aloud, “press” in Elizabethan English was pronounced “preese” to rhyme with release. At least, that’s what they told me in college.

Categories: Literature, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography, poem, Poetry, Quotation, sleep

Tags: , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. I remember my mother saying ” when I couldn’t sleep, I could (too busy), when I could sleep I couldn’t (insomnia)”. Life has a way of messing with us.


  2. I’ve suffered with insomnia since I was 8. They call it a facet of PTSD from childhood trauma. It sucks. I’ve written a lot of poetry about my lack of sleep and how lovely it must be to find solace in Hypnos and Morpheus, and finally achieved an acceptable compromise. Chemical assistance has been a God send. And I’ve learned mind exercises akin to meditation that help me stop thinking so much after I’m trying to sleep (racing mind they call it). And the most helpful and most hated assistance is through the C-pap. While in hospital recently, they gave me oxygen in the middle of the early morning (4 am or something) because they said I wasn’t breathing well…I understand that getting enough oxygen is vital to good restful sleep too. My sympathies dear from one night owl to another…however involuntarily. 😉


    • Mostly, these days, pain wakes me. It used to be worrying, but i don’t worry much these days. I’m past worrying. I plan and then I forget about it until I need to think about it again. But a lot of me hurts and there isn’t enough pain medication to make it go away. I’m very careful about pain medication, too. I don’t need addiction to add to all my OTHER woes. But within the limits of commonsense, I do the best I can to deal with it. Not much choice because I’m not getting any younger. Oh, if only I was!


  3. I try for 8 hours a night, but I’m happy if I can achieve 6 1/2.


    • Lucky that we don’t need as much sleep as we get older, isn’t it? I do better when I go to bed a little earlier, but before midnight always seems such a waste of perfectly good hours. I often do my best writing late at night, too. After all these years of retirement, I’m a lot less tired than I used to be, so I must be improving. I used to live on four hours, and that was NOT enough, even with huge vats of coffee.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My sleep is more steered by MS exhaustion, but if I get my after dinner sleep i am OK

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was up very early for so many years … and worked late, too … I think I forgot how to sleep. Now, I wake up because my arms are asleep, or my legs are cramping or my back hurts. Or, I have to go to the bathroom. Or all of the above. I’m getting a little better now, though. It has taken a really LONG time to remember sleeping. I used to wake up ready to go to work, even after I’d been retired for almost 10 years. I finally got over it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • No, I will never catch up on all that sleep lost across the decades.

        I’m burned out — as I write — because I was up early today. Plus, we have had a very stressful week. I’m sure you are also burned like black toast. Blatantly racist?


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