"Sleep" lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri Composed by Eric Whitacre....
The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon

Upon my pillow, safe in bed
A thousand pictures fill my head
I cannot sleep my minds a flight
And yet my limbs seem made of lead

If there are noises in the night
A frighting shadow, flickering light
Then I surrender unto sleep

Where clouds of dreams give second sight

What dreams may come both dark and deep

Of flying wings and soaring leap

As I surrender unto sleep
As I surrender unto sleep

Lyrics submitted by mem1019

"Sleep" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Sleep song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song takes one into altered states of consciousness. This song takes one into meditation and contemplation. Depending upon the skills of one who meditates and contemplates, one can go deeper and deeper into altered states of consciousness. One can go to no place and no time. One can go to Nothingness. Nirvana. This song, "Sleep," can take one away from the physical world....
    Coxhereon December 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe feeling in between sleep and concious.

    when youre about to fall asleep, but youre not sleeping yet.
    oh;hodeson March 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is actually about the final moments in waking life, before slipping into sleep and never waking up again.
    The lyrics were originally "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. But copyright came into place so they made new lyrics.
    The song was written for a woman who also sings Soprano in the choir that performed the recording, who's parents died within days of eachother.
    The lyrics symbolize fear, comfort, and the feeling of not knowing what comes after death.
    macauleyon August 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMacaluley is correct, its about the moment right before you die, about "sleeping" and "surrendering to sleep."
    This song is painfully beautiful, as are many of eric whitacre's composition.
    It's so beautiful, it makes you choke.
    notitle147on September 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat an absolutely gorgeous song. We dedicated this song to my recently retired choral director's son, who died because of epilepsy. By the end of it, there was not one dry eye in the chorus or in the audience. It's such a powerful and beautiful song... I really want to perform it again. Macauley is right, it's about submitting to a sleep that you won't wake from.
    kelley BELLYYYon December 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionAs with all of Whitacre's compositions, each chord, each beat even, have so much emotion behind it. The way he uses discords and dissonance fits each word and phrase as a whole. The psychological and physical aspects of trying to fall asleep (in the most literal sense) when you can't is shown through the chords and reflected in the words. The climax, and building to it, for example, have the floodgates opened in the music and voices, but also can be as in one's mind as they begin to dream:

    "Then I surrender unto sleep

    Where clouds of dreams give second sight

    What dreams may come both dark and deep"

    And by then you can feel the climax coming on, as you can sleep.

    "Of flying wings and soaring leap

    As I surrender unto sleep"

    And you have this glorious flowing melody that molds itself into a soothing and relaxing lullaby as if one is really asleep.

    Another good example of this emotional composition is from "When David Heard," a song based from the Bible in 2 Samuel when King David's son, Absalom, dies. You can almost feel the grief and anguish, sorrow and agony and utter discomfort building within David's head, until it bursts out with remorse. All of this is underlined in the tone and stress of each and everyone of these beautifully coordinated chords.

    deaconbombon January 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis poem from Charles Anthony Silvestri was actually written about his son who could not fall asleep one night. It was written after the piece was written by Whitacre, so Silvestri had to write the words to fit the song. When writing, he did not think not think about how it could be interpreted as slipping from life to death, but after he heard it sung, he admits it could work either way.
    marshall1610on April 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just sang this song at orchestra hall in chicago and it was incredible. the audience was so moved that they were crying. im glad the message was sent across. GO FRASER PERFORMING ARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    montclef88on March 23, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion"Sleep" by Eric Whiteacre is just wonderful! The arrangement of chords is so moving and creates a feeling of peace and tranquility with ones inner feeling and towards others. A brilliant piece and peace let us all find it.
    hornbloweron June 05, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Shameless self-promotion :P My chamber choir singing this in the troy savings bank music hall. Such an amazing piece
    fireboltfuryon July 09, 2011   Link

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