Kate Hall


Griffin Poetry Prize 2010
Canadian Shortlist

Book: The Certainty Dream

Poet: Kate Hall

Publisher: Coach House Books

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Kate Hall reads Insomnia

Insomnia, by Kate Hall


If I were to sleep, it would be on an iron bed,
bolted to the floor in a bomb-proof concrete room
with twelve locks on the door.
I wouldn’t ask for a mattress
or decorate. I wouldn’t ask for beautiful.
I’d let the philosophers in,
but not into my bed.
They’d arrive cradling their brass instruments.
I might let them play
but only very softly and only if
they didn’t fight or sing.

If I were to sleep, there wouldn’t be any windows.
There would be a skylight,
but in the middle of the floor.
I’d press my face against the glass
and stare down at other floors upon floors upon floors …
I’d do a sleep dance right on top of the skylight.
It would be a new game.
It would involve amazing feats of sleep contortion.
It would involve letters.

If I were to sleep, I would be spread-eagled across the bed,
and even with the iron struts and screws cutting into my back,
I would protect the metal frame.
I would protect the springs.

From The Certainty Dream, by Kate Hall
Copyright © Kate Hall, 2009

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