"Insomnia" was composed for an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City celebrating the 60th anniversary of the literary journal The Hudson Review. The event was part of the Guggenheim's Works and Process series and included not only musical settings of poems by Dana Gioia, but readings and interviews with the poet as well.
The poem "Insomnia" was published in Gioia's volume Daily Horoscope in 1986.
by Dana Gioia
Now you hear what the house has to say.
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,
and voices mounting in an endless drone
of small complaints like the sounds of a family
that year by year you've learned how to ignore.
But now you must listen to the things you own,
all that you've worked for these past years,
the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,
the moving parts about to come undone,
and twisting in the sheets remember all
the faces you could not bring yourself to love.
How many voices have escaped you until now,
the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,
the steady accusations of the clock
numbering the minutes no one will mark.
The terrible clarity this moment brings,
the useless insight, the unbroken dark.