Insomnia Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Insomnia

Rating: 3.8


The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Mary Ann Leone 09 August 2006

The language is fresh and unique, a hallmark of Bishop's incomparable work. She can turn a mundane topic (as in Shampoo, another favorite of mine) into something unforgettable. I am completely awed by her talent and how she weaves emotion into her world; in this case, a fantastic one where the moon (synonymous with the speaker) resides in a bedroom mirror. It is only at the end we understand the depth of feeling behind her mystical images. A true genius, and I wish she were alive so I could write and tell her what her poetry means to me.

19 1 Reply
Nici M 23 January 2014

In my final year of high school, some 20 years ago, I know that Elizabeth Bishop was the name attached to a poem rated high on that dread list called You might be examined on this. I know that I studied the poem- I turned it to words, inside out and upside down; every possible meaning extracted, and it remained words. I think that's why I cannot (for the life of me) remember which of her poems that was. I'm commenting on this one, though, for the sheer delight it brought, and I'm very glad that I shall never, *ever* turn Ms. Bishop's gorgeous poetry into mere words again.

8 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 16 March 2022

An insightful piece of poetry. A work of an intricate mind....

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 15 March 2022

My favourite poetess all time, the words she weaved so fascinatingly, when we start reading her poems we keep reading till the end and then the meaning of the poem is visible in our mind. True gorgeously worded and so powerful.

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 15 March 2022

Marvelous poem about the famous Imsomnia! How passionate sound the words,5 tars full score

0 0 Reply
M Asim Nehal 26 June 2016

Awesome poem giving a nice feel of sleepless nights where the shadows are really the body, where we stay awake all night, where the heavens are shallow as the sea is now deep, and you love me.

2 2 Reply
Brian Jani 22 May 2014

Elizabeth bishop has become my personal favourite

4 2 Reply
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Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Worcester, Massachusetts
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