I Need Help

Hirsch, Edward

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jan-29-1997
  • Last revised: Jan-09-2007


For all the insomniacs in the world, the narrator says, "I want to build a new kind of machine / For flying out of the body at night." He recounts the images, anxieties, and responsibilities that accrue to those who lie in their beds at night, unable to sleep. He feels the weight of "this enormous night" on his shoulders, but he is unable to lift it alone. He needs help "to fly out of myself."


A clear and finely wrought 48-line poem that conveys the personal experience of insomnia. The poem includes some wonderful nocturnal images: the poet is a "hunchback trying to hold up the sky," he wants to "court-martial the dark faces," and needs help "from the six pallbearers of sleep."

Primary Source

Wild Gratitude



Place Published

New York