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The Sleeper

 As Ann came in one summer's day, 
She felt that she must creep, 
So silent was the clear cool house, 
It seemed a house of sleep.
And sure, when she pushed open the door, Rapt in the stillness there, Her mother sat, with stooping head, Asleep upon a chair; Fast -- fast asleep; her two hands laid Loose-folded on her knee, So that her small unconscious face Looked half unreal to be: So calmly lit with sleep's pale light Each feature was; so fair Her forehead -- every trouble was Smooth'd out beneath her hair.
But though her mind in dream now moved, Still seemed her gaze to rest From out beneath her fast-sealed lids, Above her moving breast, On Ann, as quite, quite still she stood; Yet slumber lay so deep Even her hands upon her lap Seemed saturate with sleep.
And as Ann peeped, a cloudlike dread Stole over her, and then, On stealthy, mouselike feet she trod, And tiptoed out again.

by Walter de la Mare
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