Robert Francis

(August 12, 1901 - July 13, 1987 / Pennsylvania / United States)

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Summons


Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rob Burns (2/17/2013 5:23:00 PM)

    I think it is about those people that enter our lives and open the doors. The people who we never expect to come along. We don't plan for the meeting, it is the spontaneous nature of time and chance that puts these people in our lives that they change us, a sea change into something rich and strange. (Report) Reply

  • Mm Loewin (9/20/2012 10:43:00 AM)

    Does anyone happen to know where/when this poem was first published? I'm trying to figure out how I came upon it in the 1970s in Vermont. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (9/19/2012 2:40:00 PM)

    The words WHISTLING, STOMP, BANG set an urgent tone to the reading of this poem-the passion of lovers-a hot energy. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (9/19/2012 2:20:00 AM)

    Marvelous by its lucid expression which intensifying the passion of living. Great love towards life. Great indeed......Pranab k c (Report) Reply

  • Diana Varney (6/2/2009 11:56:00 AM)

    Kiarra: I've loved this poem for decades and now you have helped me to fully understand why. Your analysis was spot-on for me. Thank you so much! ! (Report) Reply

  • Susan Folkes (7/9/2008 11:17:00 AM)

    I'm with Zack - sort of - I think it's being in love with life. It reminds me of a time in Manila when the meteorite shower went on from about 2: 00 am until 5: 00 am. My friend and I had gone to bed, having had a good evening out and feeling tired. We had decided not to join our friends on the top of a skyscraper to watch the promised spectacle. One of our friends came bashing on the door at 1: 00 am until we woke up and we dressed and travelled to the top of the tower to watch. We lay on our backs watching the cosmic fireworks until morning. A night never forgotten, and shared with friends. It's a message not to take life for granted, a desire to share special moments. (Report) Reply

  • Kiarra Smith (6/13/2007 5:58:00 PM)

    At Missouri Fine Arts Academy, we tried to analyze this poem. To me, it should be read in an almost mystical way with a soft voice. Though it sounds like death, I personally think it is about inspiration. The sleeping person is ignoring creativity and the beauty of life, yet wants to experience it. That is why the narrator is asking 'Persuade me'. This is shown throughout the poem by the things the narrator wants to see such as the beautiful aurora borealis. They tell them to 'Knock on the porch. Bang on the door' meaning to force them to listen even if they have to shout, 'Look! Look at all of the wonder you are missing! ' They want to see these things before they become a prisoner of their own negativity which is proven in the line 'Keep me from going to sleep too soon.' Of course, this is just my opinion. At the age of 17 now, it could change when I'm 20 or 30. (Report) Reply

  • Zack Arsenault (6/11/2007 8:25:00 PM)

    I am a teenager, and I dont see this as something about death and dying young. Quite the opposite really. I see this as a poem about someone deeply in love with someone else. I see this because every view in this poem screams how much he cares, how much he wants to just be around this person. I say he because these are my feelings for the person I love. I may only be 15 but I know well enough what my feelings mean. I feel he same way as in this poem. Perhaps that is only my mind thinking on its own, but I see this as Pure Love. (Report) Reply

  • Debra Polsky (6/21/2006 1:10:00 PM)

    I agree that it's about seizing life, not sleeping or sleepwalking through it. It also speaks to me about friendship, about the kind of friendship that knows what you need and pushes you to grab it. I think teenagers think everything is about death and dying young. (Report) Reply

  • Steven Reader (11/17/2005 12:45:00 AM)

    See that I see. I asked my class what they thought this poem was to them and several answered death and dying young. I think it is about life and living fully. (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »

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