Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

A Sleepless Night - Poem by Philip Levine

April, and the last of the plum blossoms
scatters on the black grass
before dawn. The sycamore, the lime,
the struck pine inhale
the first pale hints of sky.
An iron day,
I think, yet it will come
dazzling, the light
rise from the belly of leaves and pour
burning from the cups
of poppies.
The mockingbird squawks
from his perch, fidgets,
and settles back. The snail, awake
for good, trembles from his shell
and sets sail for China. My hand dances
in the memory of a million vanished stars.

A man has every place to lay his head.

Comments about A Sleepless Night by Philip Levine

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (9/10/2017 1:11:00 PM)

    My hand dances
    in the memory of a million vanished stars.

    Beautiful poem.10
    (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mohit Katyal (7/12/2017 2:38:00 AM)

    liked the title..and poem was also pretty good (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (2/16/2015 7:19:00 PM)

    A Sleepless Night seems as a metaphor for the long night of winter, itself a metaphor for the darkness of life; spring has finally come, it's good to be alive, and because man is alive he can lay his head anywhere, but of course this freedom of living came at a price: a million vanished stars, now only a memory. (Report) Reply

  • Portia Burton (10/20/2013 5:32:00 AM)

    wonderful poem!
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/26/2010 8:25:00 PM)

    I agree with G. Murdock. Yet, there is something quite intriguing about the last line. It does bring to mind the NT quote: The Son of Man has no place to rest his head. Does that change the meaning? (Report) Reply

  • (12/6/2005 10:38:00 PM)

    good overall, not in a particular way...not a line which is exceptional. More like a fine car is made of many ordinary parts. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »
User Rating:
2,9 / 5 ( 49 votes ) 6

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: april, memory, sky, light, night, dance, rose, star

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]