Love Lies Sleeping Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Love Lies Sleeping

Rating: 2.8

Earliest morning, switching all the tracks
that cross the sky from cinder star to star,
coupling the ends of streets
to trains of light.

now draw us into daylight in our beds;
and clear away what presses on the brain:
put out the neon shapes
that float and swell and glare

down the gray avenue between the eyes
in pinks and yellows, letters and twitching signs.
Hang-over moons, wane, wane!
From the window I see

an immense city, carefully revealed,
made delicate by over-workmanship,
detail upon detail,
cornice upon facade,

reaching up so languidly up into
a weak white sky, it seems to waver there.
(Where it has slowly grown
in skies of water-glass

from fused beads of iron and copper crystals,
the little chemical "garden" in a jar
trembles and stands again,
pale blue, blue-green, and brick.)

The sparrows hurriedly begin their play.
Then, in the West, "Boom!" and a cloud of smoke.
"Boom!" and the exploding ball
of blossom blooms again.

(And all the employees who work in a plants
where such a sound says "Danger," or once said "Death,"
turn in their sleep and feel
the short hairs bristling

on backs of necks.) The cloud of smoke moves off.
A shirt is taken of a threadlike clothes-line.
Along the street below
the water-wagon comes

throwing its hissing, snowy fan across
peelings and newspapers. The water dries
light-dry, dark-wet, the pattern
of the cool watermelon.

I hear the day-springs of the morning strike
from stony walls and halls and iron beds,
scattered or grouped cascades,
alarms for the expected:

queer cupids of all persons getting up,
whose evening meal they will prepare all day,
you will dine well
on his heart, on his, and his,

so send them about your business affectionately,
dragging in the streets their unique loves.
Scourge them with roses only,
be light as helium,

for always to one, or several, morning comes
whose head has fallen over the edge of his bed,
whose face is turned
so that the image of

the city grows down into his open eyes
inverted and distorted. No. I mean
distorted and revealed,
if he sees it at all.

June Nduta 14 May 2010

the poem was inspiring and it has taught me alot about love thanks alot for your inspiring poems.

3 2 Reply
Hebert Logerie Sr. 14 February 2019

This is not a very good poem for Valentine's day. I hope POEMHUNTER.COM do better next time. Many great poets have written better Valentine's poems for the day of LOVE, poetry and passion. Thank you! Vox populi, vox Dei.

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Adrian Flett 14 February 2019

SOME TYPOS makes us wonder if we have received the actual words the poet intended. THIS CARELESSNESS ON THE PART OF PH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE..

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Bernard F. Asuncion 14 February 2019

A magnificent poem by Elizabeth Bishop.......

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Mahtab Bangalee 14 February 2019

oh; heart touching stanza- The sparrows hurriedly begin their play. Then, in the West, " Boom! " and a cloud of smoke. " Boom! " and the exploding ball of blossom blooms again // LOVE reciprocally smells everywhere but covetous we DESTRUCT it indiscriminately

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Edward Kofi Louis 14 February 2019

Light as helium! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Ratnakar Mandlik 14 February 2019

The narrative with it's detailed sweep of love is just fascinating. Enjoyed the beautiful poem.

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Benjamin Uy 14 February 2019

Comprising, comprising all beautiful lnguage words and emotional summary of a great superior love poem. Thanks to this great poet

1 1 Reply
Glen Kappy 14 February 2019

This is a lovely poem which manages to be a paean to a city without abandoning realism. It strikes me as an opposite to Ginsberg’s Howl. I especially like her description in the fourth stanza. -GK

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Dr Antony Theodore 14 February 2019

a fine poem from the great Elizabeth Bishop.

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Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Worcester, Massachusetts
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