by Sara Teasdale
A November Night
- 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!
back to the first poem.