The demon list

imagesI went to bed at half past one,
The list was almost halfway done
But then, it only lists by item…
Some jobs last ad infinitum.

So that mid-point is false you see
But the illusion comforts me…
I can at least head off to bed
Without to-do lists in my head.

The list is long and just keeps growing
And there is no way of knowing
What will join the urgent pile
If I should let stuff wait awhile.

I have to be back up by six
To give the hound her morning fix
Of cool spring air and smells that lurk
Before I have to leave for work.

But could I sleep? No, could I hell,
My thoughts upon that list would dwell
No matter what I did or thought
My mind kept turning back to ‘ought’.

So first, I tried to meditate,
And sent my conscious thoughts to wait
Where silent peace has made its vow
Within the chamber of ‘not now’.

But did it work? For once, oh no,
My thoughts to silence would not go,
I shot the clock a narrowed look,
Then gave in and reached for a book.

But could I concentrate? Not yet.
I realised, with some regret
My thoughts, regardless of the time,
Just played around with silly rhyme.

And so, at half past two or three,
Just picture this… disgruntled me,
The bedside light switched on again
Armed with a notepad and a pen.

(And no, I know that doesn’t rhyme,
But at this dark, unheard of time
An assonance will do just fine,
For just one small and measly line.)

I tried again, and then gave in,
Insomnia was going to win.
By four, I caved and just got up,
And headed for the coffee cup.

And there the dog already waited,
Eagerness all unabated,
Ready for her morning run
And wanting me to share the fun.

There on the desk the demon lay,
The new to-do list for the day;
So please excuse me while I write…
I’d really like to sleep tonight!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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47 Responses to The demon list

  1. davidprosser says:

    Good luck with that then Sue. When insomnia takes hold sleep takes a walk and needs signposts to find it’s way back.Maybe you’ve got an A-Z handy.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope you have a better time of it next time you head for your rest. I rarely see my bed before 3 am and my two huskies are ready to go at 8:00 am so I sympathize with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jenanita01 says:

    I hate those nights when your brain simply won’t quit…and there’s no reasoning with it either!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. willowdot21 says:

    That dreaded to do list!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    Here’s hoping you beat that list today Sue and then get some rest!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KL Caley says:

    Haha! Very creative Sue, is it mean to say it’s funny when it’s someone else? I have found myself up mopping the kitchen floor at 2 in the morning as I knew I wouldn’t get time the next day and it really needed done! I must say, I love a good list though, helps me focus (most of the time). KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rae Longest says:

    I could definitely identify! I had a night (a whole one, literally didn’t sleep a wink) night before last and it made me “sick” the next day. I was smart enough to cancel my two things that required driving that day, but slept from 7 p.m. until 7:00 am the next morning, in my clothes on top of the covers. When I finally awoke in the morning, I was totally disoriented and very hungry–needed carbs. I will NOT repeat that experience again!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Of Dreams & Ghosts – Richard M. Ankers

  9. adeleulnais says:

    Oh i so know what you mean here Sue. The hellish to do list. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. noelleg44 says:

    I think we all have nights when our minds just can’t shut down. I hate it,but you have to go with the flow. Hope tonight is better!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hope you manage to get to sleep tonight Sue. I did enjoy the poem that the sleepless night inspired though!! x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Widdershins says:

    Sooner or later exhaustion sets in. 🙂 … may you have a smoother transition to slumberland this evening. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I feel your pain, Sue. I have insomnia some nights. I hope your condition improves. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  14. worse than an insomniac night is one you sleep but your brain keeps talking, and talking and you wake up even more tired. i hope that you’ll sleep well tonight. and thanks for the beautiful poem. (:

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Erik says:

    The sleeplessness seems a symptom, not a problem. I know it well. I’m inclined to ask myself at such times, “Who’s making the ‘oughts’ for the list?” I also find it helpful to ask and answer this: “If I were to wind up in the hospital tomorrow for a month, which of the things on this list wouldn’t get done? And would there be any dire consequences to their not having gotten done?”

    Beyond sleepless nights, I’ve actually wound up (in my younger days) actually in the hospital, nearly dead, due to those “lists.” It prompted a whole chapter in The Best Advice So Far, the central advice for which is this: “You can always do more — and less — than you thought you could.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Oh, it is all so silly when you have those thoughts of ‘oughts’…and you know perfectly well that you will be fit to do more if you do less sometimes 🙂 As soon as you let yourself get stressed by these lists, you cease to be able to function properly anyway.


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