How do you sleep at night,
how do you sleep at night
how do you, how do you, how do you…?

Very well, you reply.
Very well, most of the times.
Even when I do sleep fitfully or
lie awake at night, it is not
because of the vision of the faces
or the cries in the dark, or
the whimper of protests, and least of all,
not because I remember the preaching of Buddha
who tells us to have mercy

on all living beings –even the ones
who kill or sleep soundly after
the lips have uttered
shoot to kill orders—

“It is none of the above that
keeps me awake,” you say to me
shaking your head as if I were
a child whose head is filled with
silly things, but I won’t be deterred.

How do you? How do you?
How do you sleep at night?
“Very well,” you reply.
Most of the times, at least,
even if once in a while I lie awake
underneath my silk sheets
on a four-poster bed

in a room with marble floors
and fluffy chairs big enough for Papa and Mama
bears. Very well. Most of the times.

How could you sleep at night? I ask again
even if I know you would keep telling me
very well, very well most of the times.

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5 Responses to conscience

  1. I like this very much. It has a song-like or nursery rhyme-like quality that belies the message.

    • Who Knows says:

      thanks! I am glad you like it. It makes me think of baa-baa black sheep nursery rhyme while I was writing this so you’re not too far off!

  2. anvilsandedelweiss says:

    Awesome. I think this is my second favorite poem of yours of all time.

    • Who Knows says:

      wow. That’s high praise! I wasn’t really sure about the quality of this one but your comment made my day now 🙂 Of course, now i am wondering what is the first favorite? lol..

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