Sleeping on the Ceiling

(1994)

"Sleeping on the Ceiling" is the first song of David Leisner's song cycle To Sleep, which sets the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.

Sleeping on the Ceiling
by Elizabeth Bishop


It is so peaceful on the ceiling!
It is the Place de la Concorde.
The little crystal chandelier
is off, the fountain is in the dark.
Not a soul is in the park.


Below, where the wallpaper is peeling,
the Jardin des Plantes has locked its gates.
Those photographs are animals.
The mighty flowers and foliage rustle;
under the leaves the insects tunnel.


We must go under the wallpaper
to meet the insect-gladiator,
to battle with a net and trident,
and leave the fountain and the square.
But oh, that we could sleep up there...


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