How we sleep

How do we sleep while our beds are burning?— Midnight Oil

This particular white-fella, rather podgy,
over-employed, committed unionist
and Nikon-owner, gets to a time of life
(not even thirty) thinking about superannuation
and which plan is best for safe retirement.

I cringe through the whole year,
complain quietly of terrible excess
in times restraint is hard to bear, and
manage some murmurings about “the Treaty”
— but that’s all. So, how do I sleep?

This far, I must admit, it’s been easy:
buffered by green suburbs, relative riches
and silence, I could not fail in ignorance.
Some excel in it, are proud to destroy,
build on the ruins, and have no fear to rest with bones.

I have slept by forgetting.
Without pills or drugs, dope or whiskey, to sleep
it is enough simply not to think,
as though a thought or word
would make the whole house burn.

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