I CANNOT SLEEP — Malvina Reynolds (1958)
recorded by Rosalie Sorrels, SheetMusic

I cannot sleep for thinking of the children,
Who cannot sleep, gone supperless to bed.
I cannot sleep for thinking of the young men,
Who roam the streets, no place to lay their heads.

If there were one, it would be cause to wonder,
If there were one, it would be cause to weep.
But they are numbered in too many thousands,
And for each one, I cannot sleep.

The stores are full, the bins are overflowing,
In sight of food, the hungry children wait.
And through the streets the young begin to wander,
Because at home, there’s nothing on their plate. Chorus

We cannot sleep, my sisters from the mill line,
We must not sleep, my brothers from the plow,
Until we turn the wealth we have created
Back to those, to those who hunger now. Chorus
..... ‘Til there are none, we will not sleep.

I don't think of myself primarily as a writer of children's songs. In fact, I tend to avoid that title, because the first thought is, you know, this nice old grandma who makes cookies and sings for kids, and that's not my character at all. I have a very acid edge toward many aspects of modern life, and I'm pretty outspoken about it. I don't mind crossing swords with people when I disagree with them, and I'm not your nice old grandma. However, I always make it clear that the reason I have this sharp cutting edge is because I do care for people. I care about children, and I think the world is ripping them off, taking away their natural environment and much more than that the natural progression of their tradition, and leaving them stripped, uneasy, uncomfortable, and in deep trouble, and it's because of that that I'm so sharp. Malvina Reynolds (1977)