A November Night


Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet who published this lovely romantic poem set in the magic that a near-winter night brings.A November Night was published in 1916.
A November Night
Brocken Inaglory, Perseid meteor shower, 2007
 There! See the line of lights,
 A chain of stars down either side the street,
 Why can't you lift the chain and give it to me,
 A necklace for my throat? I'd twist it round
 And you could play with it. You smile at me
 As though I were a little dreamy child
 Behind whose eyes the fairies live.... And see,
 The people on the street look up at us
 All envious. We are a king and queen,
 Our royal carriage is a motor bus,
 We watch our subjects with a haughty joy....
 How still you are! Have you been hard at work
 And are you tired to-night? It is so long
 Since I have seen you, four whole days, I think.
 My heart is crowded full of foolish thoughts
 Like early flowers in an April meadow,
 And I must give them to you, all of them,
 Before they fade. The people I have met,
 The play I saw, the trivial, shifting things
 That loom too big or shrink too little, shadows
 That hurry, gesturing along a wall,
 Haunting or gay, and yet they all grow real
 And take their proper size here in my heart
 When you have seen them.... There's the Plaza now,
 A lake of light! To-night it almost seems
 That all the lights are gathered in your eyes,
 Drawn somehow toward you. See the open park
 Lying below us with a million lamps
 Scattered in wise disorder like the stars.
 We look down on them as God must look down
 On constellations floating under Him
 Tangled in clouds.... Come, then, and let us walk
 Since we have reached the park. It is our garden,
 All black and blossomless this winter night,
 But we bring April with us, you and I;
 We set the whole world on the trail of spring.
 I think that every path we ever took
 Has marked our footprints in mysterious fire,
 Delicate gold that only fairies see.
 When they wake up at dawn in hollow tree-trunks
 And come out on the drowsy park, they look
 Along the empty paths and say, "Oh, here
 They went, and here, and here, and here! Come, see,
 Here is their bench, take hands and let us dance
 About it in a windy ring and make
 A circle round it only they can cross
 When they come back again!".... Look at the lake,
 Do you remember how we watched the swans
 That night in late October while they slept?
 Swans must have stately dreams, I think. But now
 The lake bears only thin reflected lights
 That shake a little. How I long to take
 One from the cold black water, new-made gold
 To give you in your hand! And see, and see,
 There is a star, deep in the lake, a star!
 Oh, dimmer than a pearl, if you stoop down
 Your hand could almost reach it up to me....

 There was a new frail yellow moon to-night,
 I wish you could have had it for a cup
 With stars like dew to fill it to the brim....

 How cold it is! Even the lights are cold;
 They have put shawls of fog around them, see!
 What if the air should grow so dimly white
 That we would lose our way along the paths
 Made new by walls of moving mist receding
 The more we follow.... What a silver night!
 That was our bench the time you said to me
 The long new poem, but how different now,
 How eerie with the curtain of the fog
 Making it strange to all the friendly trees!
 There is no wind, and yet great curving scrolls
 Carve themselves, ever changing, in the mist.
 Walk on a little, let me stand here watching
 To see you, too, grown strange to me and far....
 I used to wonder how the park would be
 If one night we could have it all alone,
 No lovers with close arm-encircled waists
 To whisper and break in upon our dreams.
 And now we have it! Every wish comes true!
 We are alone now in a fleecy world;
 Even the stars have gone. We two alone!

This poem is featured in our selection of Poetry for Students and 100 Great Poems. You may also enjoy William Cullen Bryant's poem, Song of the Stars.


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