Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Sleeping on the Ceiling


It is so peaceful on the ceiling!
It is the Place de la Concorde.
The little crystal chandelier
is off, the fountain is in the dark.
Not a soul is in the park.

Below, where the wallpaper is peeling,
the Jardin des Plantes has locked its gates.
Those photographs are animals.
The mighty flowers and foliage rustle;
under the leaves the insects tunnel.

We must go under the wallpaper
to meet the insect-gladiator,
to battle with a net and trident,
and leave the fountain and the square
But oh, that we could sleep up there...

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie Robert Barnett (4/29/2009 6:10:00 PM)

    I can enjoy and understand this poem, but I fail to understand the line 'Those photographs are animals.' The only image I take from that is the perspective generated by distance, but that doesn't do much.

    Any thoughts? (Report) Reply

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