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Wrapped in a blanket, this cozy community poem celebrates rest and relaxation

A spectator sleeps during IRONMAN Ireland, Cork on August 14, 2022 in Cork, Ireland.
Nigel Roddis
Getty Images for IRONMAN
A spectator sleeps during IRONMAN Ireland, Cork on August 14, 2022 in Cork, Ireland.

NPR Poet in Residence Kwame Alexander recently challenged listeners to write a poem about napping, or anything related, sleeping, dreaming, relaxing....

One thing we confirmed, hundreds of you spend a lot of time thinking about rest and relaxation.

From school kids to the elderly, we received over 1,200 poems from across the country.

Here's Alexander's latest community crowd-sourced poem.

It's called a Blanket of Words.

If I Could...

I would like us to take a break I would like us to contemplate How much better we all are with rest.

I would like to take a restoring nap upon my king size bed. to pile my pillows all around my head A soft warm handmade quilt, my cozy nook to curl up with my favorite book

into a blanket of words

Let's read each other bedtime stories as I drift into unconsciousness Disconnecting from today

I would like to pause just for a few precious moments to calm my mind to slide from my world of lists and piles of laundry, of last night's dishes in the sink

I would like to rest But I have a test. I would like to sleep But my work is too deep.

I would like to give in to the pull of my eyelids Begging to close But the email in front of me Deserves a reply So I sigh deeply and shrug Resisting their tug And attempt once again To compose

I would like to hideaway for a bit of shuteye in the middle of the day to the soft quiet spaces of the old couch before the fire, dogs snoring at my feet, new snow drifting outside my window,

I would like to lay my head, On a pillow, soft as a featherbed, And let my body sink into repose, As my eyelids slowly close.

I would like to, pull the pinpoint stars down from the sky, I'd weave soft moonbeams through them,

to climb the stairs my imagination made I would like to be a bird, unburdened, I would like to be me, unbound.

I just want to nap And wonder And wander

And dream

Of letting go, ego dissolving, like honey in tea.

dreams where we can be everything we've ever wanted to be I would like to be asleep. In my bed. Unable to access the dread in my head.

In my dreams food, money, and life lack relevance

And I would play with magic monkeys.

I would like to live in a world where we dream when we fall asleep And do not face a nightmare when we wake

When I was a little girl, I had dreams of powers that could change the world, In my dreams I could fly, Now I'm seventeen, and I no longer dream that I could be a fairy queen, I have dreams where I'm invisible and no one can see me

I would like answers:

Why do we do what we do? Why do we learn how we do? We are no longer curious We are no longer present.

Exhausted, zombies roaming the streets Toiling with no end in sight We work to eat We eat to live We live to work

Real life beckons with every sheep we try to count, and When my head hits the pillow The whole world falls away.

I would like to rest my shoulders

from their stand at attention, my brain from constantly narrating,

I would like to, but I can't right now. Too much to do, not the right time. I have work to do, Places to be But what if I just flee, And sleep endlessly.

I would like to see you try. A moment of nothing, Ceaseless wonder, Boundless floors. Infinite possibilities, And a thousand more.

I would like to find you in my dream

to hear your voice again Whistling wisdom and wit Stories and songs

scents of freedom, molecules of unconditional love,

I would like to meet you in the space between asleep and awake where we belong to both worlds and yet owe nothing to either place

I would like to feel again the familiar sensation of my hand in yours as we walked in strange and scary places while my heart beats loudly

I would like to listen more closely than the arrogant child that I was who often dismissed your speech as dated and irrelevant I would like to travel in a time machine to before the years passed and you died of old age to apologize to you,

Most of all though, I would like to hear your joyful exhalation — brief and unmistakable — you're the only one I've ever known to laugh even in your sleep.

I would like to awaken in the afternoon sun, Soft fingertips lifting an eyelid Your sweet voice, "Daddy! Daddy! You in there?"

If I could,

I would like to Feel good.

Lay on the clouds and not fall through.

I would like to surrender.

I would like to rest in peace,

I would like to rest my heart From the daily stabs of an unkind world

I would like to forget the faces whose judgements crowd my mind

I would like to be your pillow The firmness to support you, The softness to embrace you,

I would like to awaken and find it's spring, I would like to be remembered as a fearless dreamer

I would like to shut my eyes and Open my heart to nap, wrapped in silence

I would like to Lay down in my bed. Wake up better.

Rise, ready to battle the challenges every day brings. And then I would like to have another cup of coffee, greet

The birdsongs

The willow trees

The warmth of the sun

I would like to meet

The bright new day Embraced in love, refreshed, anew, ready to change the world But first I will dream I will dream of the world I will change

And then, I will change it But for now I would like to dream.

This community poem was created using submissions by:

James Breeden, Durham, NC

Doug Thiele, Norfolk, VA

Megan Dixon, Milwaukee, WI

Michael Ceran, Charlotte, NC

Kaley Burke, Missoula

Lee Robinson, Comfort, TX

Samantha McCulloch, Washington, DC

Erin Lupold, Mount Hebron High School

Grace Russell, Pineville, NC

Ellen Somers, Syracuse, NY

Pippa Mahmood, Ca

Michael L Guss, Stone Mountain, GA

Kit Collard, Mesa, AZ

Kieralyn Kennington, AZ

Carrie Granato, Clearwater Beach, FL

Niki Cruickshank, San Carlos, CA

Citlaly Espinosa Silvestre, Mesa, AZ

Ashley Mitchell, San Carlos, CA

Eleanna Swartz, San Carlos, CA

Dan Grote, US Pennitentiary Canaan, Waymart, PA

Emily Mack, Grand Rapids, MI

Anna VanderLaan, Ann Arbor, MI

Katie Le, Reston, VA

Felicito Fernando, Tennessee

Alyssa Weedon, Ca

Whitney Lewis, Atlanta, GA

Terrence Parker, Maine

Anand Karnad, San Antonio, TX

Priyanka Singh, San Francisco, CA

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Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Kwame Alexander