Poetry topic idea: sleeping

Today’s poetry topic idea is sleeping.  It can inspire poetry. A poet could write about:

  • Dreams

  • Insomnia

  • Falling asleep

  • Waking up

  • Nightmares

  • Death

  • Being half awake

  • Unconsciousness

  • Darkness

  • Beds

  • Nighttime routines

  • Night


Here is a poem that uses the idea of sleeping:

during the night
there was a dream
of one hand
in another

and during the night
as consciousness stirred
the feeling on the fingers
could still be felt

rationalization played
it was only a dream
rationalization played
but what if something caused it?

still in between
the fingers were checked
and for a moment
the feeling was felt

as eyes opened
and the fog lifted
the rational sense
showed nothing was there

but on the fingers
something was felt
and in the darkness
it felt real

Poem with an explanation: still awake

going along
seeing the dream
still awake


This poem is about unfulfilled aspirations.  The person in the poem is going about their life, they see the life they want, and they realize that they aren’t living it.  They have had the aspiration and have struggled toward it for some time, but have not reached it.

An example might be a person who works for someone else, but dreams of working for themselves.  They have tried to move in that direction, but haven’t made any progress.  One day they are driving along and they see someone opening a store for the first time.  They see it, realize that is what they want and then realize that they aren’t there.  There’s a certain sense of defeat in the situation.  The person wants to be there, has tried to be there, but isn’t.  To see someone else achieve what they want, emphasizes to them that they haven’t achieved it.

The poem is not about envy or jealousy, but rather it is about a person feeling bad about their unfulfilled goals.  The poem is inward looking rather than outward.

In terms of form, the poem is three lines with a word count pattern of 2 – 3 – 2, and a syllable count pattern of 4 – 4 – 3.