A Sleepless Night

Lest I should suffer sleeplessly this night
Of loathsome loneliness, whose strength severe
So weakens me that many a bitter tear
Bewails my sweetless, ever souring plight;
I call on my subconscious to recite
Those dulcet days, that distant yesteryear,
To which I would by thought be brought so near
That I could re-indulge my past delight;
Yet it is of no use, I turn and toss
Beneath the bedsheets, and begin to mourn
Felicities of which I am forlorn,
And lay in lamentation of their loss;
But if a bitter tear should thus be shed,
Sweet thoughts of you soon take my sorrow’s stead.



If It Were in My Power

If it were in my power to conceive
The length of time that quantifies the past,
And that this number will be yet surpassed,
For time ticks ever on without reprieve;
If it were in my power to perceive
Before my eyes the distance, which was vast,
That we had had to cross, until at last
The fabric of our lives could interweave;
If it were in my power to comprehend
How meagre is the measure of my life,
How poorer health, or other mortal strife
Could have precluded meeting you, dear friend;
Then I would think that nothing’s more sublime
Than that our lives o’erlapped in place and time.



Daniel Joseph Howard studied law in his native Ireland before taking his MA in philosophy at King’s College London. After working in the European Commission, he is now pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at Boston College.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

10 Responses

  1. Michael Pietrack

    It’s a privilege to overlap time with the people we love and share life with them, to be in the earth at the same time. Fascinating thought

  2. jd

    Yes, I agree with Michael. A creative expression of
    a beautiful thought in, “If it were in my power”.
    The first poem satisfies also.

  3. Russel Winick

    “re-indulge my past delight” and “our lives o’erlapped in place and time.” Good stuff! Thank you for it.

  4. Margaret Coats

    “If It Were in My Power” seems worthy of Shakespeare. “A Sleepless Night” is also masterfully composed, but I see two problems. “Lay” in line 12 should be “lie,” and the conditional “if a bitter tear” in the couplet appears to neglect the many bitter tears already shed in line 3. You might consider making line 13 a “when” clause rather than an “if” clause, to give logical unity to the sonnet. Remember that I compared your work to Shakespeare’s and don’t take this as adverse criticism!

  5. Jack DesBois

    Striking poetry, that flows easily on first read and straightaway begs a second. I especially like “If It Were in My Power,” with its clean meter, clear quatrains and couplet, and sentiment of wonder and gratitude. Thank you, and please send us more!

  6. C.B. Anderson

    In the antepenultimate line of “A Sleepless Night”, the sentence it is part of a sentence that seems to be in the present tense, but you write “lay,” which is the past tense of “lie,” which means to recline (lie/lay/lain). “Lay” is the present tense of a different verb that means to place down (lay/laid/laid). The way it is written makes it seem that you are laying eggs, or something. Otherwise, these were a couple of rather nice Italians.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...