wordsout by godfrey rust
Welcome To The Real World  < 30 of 59 >



No rest for the wicked

If we didn’t need sleep just think of all 
     each one of us could do—
with eight hours more in twenty-four
     how much we could get through.
Time for working, time for talk 
     and lots more time for play,
and all those little jobs you said 
     you’d get round to one day.

Pillows may be comforting 
     and duvets can be tasteful—
beds have their uses, certainly, 
     but sleeping is so wasteful.
If you want to get your MBA
     or gain one more diploma
you can’t expect to make the grade 
     whilst lying in a coma. 

You could be making megabucks, 
     instead your broker dozes,
but there’d be no closing market price 
     if nothing ever closes.
You could catch up in the rat race
     though there’d still be more ahead:
have you ever wondered why you never 
     see a rat in bed?

The best of pharmaceutical    
     researchers are all hopin’
to find the magic formula  
     to keep those eyelids open
before the boys in DNA  
     start getting way too clever
and isolate the sleeping gene 
     and wake us up for ever. 

Are you missing opportunities 
     while you’re lying there unconscious?
Was Stalin good at breaking eggs?    
     Was Pilate’s first name Pontius?
We’d boost our productivity  
     by staggering proportions—
a third more murders, burglaries,    
     divorces and abortions. 

Unending time to monitor  
     our share portfolios—
it sounds a dream (although of course  
     there’d be no more of those),
but still there is another way
     to do it much more neatly:
let’s just cut out the middle man—
     abolish time completely.

Why break our lives up just to fit 
     the sun and moon’s behaviour?
The timeless web of cyberspace 
     will be our constant saviour.
Weeks are for weaklings, days for the dazed 
     and minutes there for taking—
No more seconds, only firsts 
     will mark the claims we’re staking. 

An end at last to jet-lag—
     put that body clock away.
Tomorrow really never comes, 
     it’s all one long today.
No time, no place, no start, no end—    
     O wouldn’t we be clever—
if we didn’t need sleep at last we would 
     live virtually for ever.


Revised in 2000 and 2019. 

Godfrey Rust 1995, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for permissions.