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Poem by James Weldon Johnson


O Sleep, thou kindest minister to man,
  Silent distiller of the balm of rest,
How wonderful thy power, when naught else can,
  To soothe the torn and sorrow-laden breast!
When bleeding hearts no comforter can find,
  When burdened souls droop under weight of woe,
When thought is torture to the troubled mind,
  When grief-relieving tears refuse to flow;
'Tis then thou comest on soft-beating wings,
  And sweet oblivion's peace from them is shed;
But ah, the old pain that the waking brings!
  That lives again so soon as thou art fled!

Man, why should thought of death cause thee to weep;
Since death be but an endless, dreamless sleep?

James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson's other poems:
  1. An Explanation
  2. Brer Rabbit, You's de Cutes' of 'Em All
  3. De Little Pickaninny's Gone to Sleep
  4. And the Greatest of These Is War
  5. Sence You Went Away

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Abraham Cowley Sleep ("In vain, thou drowsy God! I thee invoke")
  • Isaac Rosenberg Sleep ("Godhead's lip hangs")
  • Edward Young Sleep ("Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep")
  • Henry Longfellow Sleep ("Lull me to sleep, ye winds, whose fitful sound")
  • John Tabb Sleep ("When he is a little chap")

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