Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Night / Arthur Davison Ficke

November Night

A crystal night!— with moon and the clear wind
Through tree-tops! On the lately-frozen earth
Silence has come, and end of the loud flaunt
Of Summer. Now the crueler powers possess
The fields and hills; now the corporeal bloom
Yields to mere beauty, and the golden grass,
The scarlet leaves, take empire.

                                                                    What a throne,—
This season of waste fruitage! Through this night,
Empty except for the high sailing moon
And the fierce winds that in long reckless sweep
Tear at men's doors,— through this clear shaken night
A ghost might walk as on the battlements
Of Elsinore, and a new Hamlet speak
With no surprise to him. The trembling branches,—
Bare, desolate, impossible as home
Of nesting birds,— like a Cimmerian lace
Sway in the winds. . . . Did not a poet sing
"O Moon of my Delight!"— how long ago
He sang that! But this keen tempestuous hour
A different moon lives.

                                                 Oh white night! with moon
And clear wind through the tree-tops! Icy night,
That had no fellow till I came to you!

Arthur Davison Ficke (1883-1945)
from An April Elegy, 1917

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Arthur Davison Ficke biography

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