‘Just before sleep’ by Peter Taylor is Write Out Loud’s Poem of the Week

entry picture

The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is Peter Taylor’s ‘Just before sleep’. As you’ll see from Peter’s answers to our Q&A, his dinner party sounds like one well worth sitting in on!

How long have you been writing poetry and what was your initial influence for doing so?
How long? 6 yrs. Initial influence: the realisation that of all the forms of beauty, the written word is the one that is most likely to summon tears of happiness (in the right hands, of course).

Is there a particular style of poetry that you enjoy writing more than others, if so why?
My favourite style is whatever flows on the day.

Have you ever performed your work, if so any advice for those still to do so?
I've performed my work often and my tip is to boldly proclaim the title - and the rest should be plain sailing

If you could only have one poetry book which one would it be?
My favourite poetry book is the one that has Prufrock in it.

Which four persons, living or dead would you like to share your last meal with?
Tony Blair (for the real story about Iraq); my best mate, John, because he'd make us all laugh, as usual; one representative of our 5 children (as they can't all be there); and of course my wife, Clare, as she'd brighten up any day.

Just before sleep
by Peter Taylor

I close my eyes and, most times, feel
the watching dark lean over us, breathe
deeply in, blow long, slow rings of
sleep across each grateful brow, then
wrap our limbs around with silken sheets,
two cocooned souls prepared for night.
So soft the silks, so firm the threads,
I cannot say I stay abed or float
among the tops of trees; there is but
black, I cannot halt the unravelling of any
web spun overnight – those about in early light,
of dewy gossamer, while they do delight,
are of the magic of the day, like you, but
when we sleep, do we touch or turn away?
Some nights before we shut day down
we talk a little – just a little – I hear the words
but see no trace of tenderness as you will not
acquiesce in eyes unveiling – though, to be clear,
while I do not doubt your gentle voice,
your eyes are as the soaring of the swallow to
the singing of the speckled lark; let neither leave,
you house them both inside your heart.
You tell me I’m too quick, too hot,
not considerate enough of differences.
And you are not convinced when I say
I am man and cannot refine or re-define
all of me; I may learn to love the
pruning of a tree but do not raise the axe or
push the saw to loose the trunk from root,
the sap from bough (that’s not all of love, anyhow).
Is there time to find a few more
moments of the day or night to share
a simple, single act of deep devotion?
For each to say, despite the way
today has gone, I’ve shared with you
the best, the worst, the in-betweens of
all my sorrows, joys it seems I’ve spared you from –
till now, our time to reconcile.
I close my heavy eyes and lie, flat-backed,
upon the bed. Instead of calling sleep to do
its work, I shirk its numbing ministrations and
whisper in your ear it’s time for us to learn to
love and state and celebrate this love – and, one day,
maybe dream together to the end.


◄ Elvis McGonagall: Full Tartan Jacket

Edinburgh Fringe Reviews: Amsterdam ►


Profile image

Mae Foreman

Thu 27th Sep 2018 09:47

Very Profound! ?

Profile image

Rose Casserley

Fri 7th Sep 2018 12:14

with regards to your poem Peter it is one in my humble opinion that deserves to be called

Poem of the year!

what an absolutely beautiful and magnificently crafted piece of work which I read again and again
with very very green eyes!?

well done matey!

Rose ?

Profile image

Peter Taylor

Fri 7th Sep 2018 06:07

Dear WOLfolk,

I am so pleased to have won the current POTW award - thank you so much to the likers and commentators, indeed to all site contributors who make it such a great one.

As I write I (as a technophobe) recognise that this message may not reach likers - or even commentators! Please could you let me know if you do receive it?

Thanks again.

Peter T

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Wed 5th Sep 2018 12:34

Marvellously deep and profound poem, Peter. Another POTW accolade for a Write Out Loud Woking regular! Sometimes I fear we miss some of your nuances when you are reading at at our spoken word nights. Not here.

Profile image


Wed 5th Sep 2018 11:49

A poem that spares no detail Peter. A coagulation before sleep giving so much to the reader, as if we are sharing the languid moments. I love the ruminative nature of your work which keeps the poetry bubbling up for us.
I would be interested to see a pamphlet going to press, please! Congratulations with this.


jennifer Malden

Wed 5th Sep 2018 09:44

Really beautiful - the choice of words and the feelings expressed. Real poetry! Congratulations on POTW. Can't think how it wasn't singled out immediately.


Profile image

Taylor Crowshaw

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 21:29

Well done Peter..very well deserved acknowledgement of a beautiful poem..?

<Deleted User> (19836)

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 18:01

Congratulations Peter!

An eloquent tale brimming with emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Well deserved! ?Jane

Big Sal

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 14:50

Well done. Lots of quality work coming from this way.?

Profile image

Brian Maryon

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 13:30

Hi Peter congrats on getting POTW.

Your style is very different to mine, and to many others I suspect, so perhaps this is why it wasn't acknowledged earlier in the week rather than slipped under the radar as Graham has suggested.

Profile image

Martin Elder

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 09:05

This is a truly beautifully crafted poem Peter and is really well deserving of POTW
Many congratulations

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Mon 3rd Sep 2018 08:51

Many congratulations Peter. I notice that this poem slipped under the radar when first posted. I am sure that it will receive the appropriate acknowledgement now it's POTW.

Well done once again!

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message