Tuesday, December 18, 2018


When They Sleep

All people are children when they sleep.

There's no war in them then.

They open their hands and breathe

in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.

They pucker their lips like small children

and open their hands halfway,

soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.

The stars stand guard

and a haze veils he sky,

a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.

If only we could speak to one another then

when our hearts are half-open flowers.

Words like golden bees

would drift in.

God, teach me the language of sleep.


Rolf Jacobsen
from At the Great Door of Morning / Robert Hedin
translated by Robert Hedin
Copper Canyon, 2017