Then night brought the dark over the earth. Sailors
on the sea looked out from their ships to Orion
and the Bear. Both the traveler out there on the road
and the gatekeeper by this time were longing for sleep.
And a heavy slumber enclosed all around that woman
whose children had died, nor was there any dog barking
through the town, nor the echoing voices of men.
Silence held the black darkness…
At night my sleep
embraces the summer shadows
of my life.
Ah, many the long night thou and I
Have passed at ease with the wine-crowned cup,
Till the red dawn gleamed in the night-dim sky
And the stars of morn in the east rose up,
And along the west the stars of night
Like defeated armies pressed their flight.
Then the brightest of joys were ours to gain.
With never a care in the world to cloud,
And pleasure untouched by the hand of pain,
Were delight with eternal life endowed:
But alas! that even the fairest boon
Is doomed, like night, to be spent too soon.
At night the clouds bring the sky within our grasp and
shorten the horizon;
briefly they interrupt the thick low sound of rain with
then, opening their eyes of lightning and viewing all the world
as if to see if any spot of land is left undrowned,
they rain again.
Come, let’s ﬁnd the secret of the clear waters;
I’ll adore you, as a drowned person does the sea.
Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead ﬂesh
Will be our friendly escorts, in joy.
Queen, I raised to you this shining palace,
From the remains of a vessel shipwrecked at night . . .
The gardens of corals, anemones, and algae
Lose nothing from the autumn’s breath.
Laughing like harlequins in a burlesque,
We’ll mount astride the backs of sharks.
Your eyes will gleam like phosphor
Through the dusk where no dawn laughs.
I am the being your bare breast once charmed,
Unable to hate or love you enough,
Whom you devoured as does your own escort,
Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead ﬂesh . . .
Come, I’ll draw you the bitter water,
To love your death there in the sea’s night.
Dear, though the night is gone,
The dream still haunts to-day
That brought us to a room,
Cavernous, lofty as
A railway terminus,
And crowded in that gloom
Were beds, and we in one
In a far corner lay.
Our whisper woke no clocks,
We kissed and I was glad
At everything you did,
Indifferent to those
Who sat with hostile eyes
In pairs on every bed,
Arms round each other’s necks,
Inert and vaguely sad.
O but what worm of guilt
Or what malignant doubt
Am I the victim of;
That you then, unabashed,
Did what I never wished,
Confessed another love;
And I, submissive, felt
Unwanted and went out?