In this installment, Geoffrey Brock reads “To Sleep” by John Keats. Brock is the author of Weighing Light (Ivan R. Dee, 2005) and the translator of books by Cesare Pavese, Roberto Calasso, and Umberto Eco. He has held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he is on the faculty of the Programs in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas. His website is www.geoffreybrock.com.
John Keats, "To Sleep"
O SOFT embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.