1. Moonburn

    I stayed under the moon too long.
    I am silvered with lust.

    Dreams flick like minnows through my eyes.
    My voice is trees tossing in the wind.

    I loose myself like a flock of blackbirds
    storming into your face.

    My lightest touch leaves blue prints,
    bruises on your mind.

    Desire sandpapers your skin
    so thin I read the veins and arteries

    maps of routes I will travel
    till I lodge in your spine.

    The night is our fur.
    We curl inside it licking.

    By Marge Piercy.

  2. Stationary

    The moon did not become the sun.
    It just fell on the desert
    in great sheets, reams
    of silver handmade by you.
    The night is your cottage industry now,
    the day is your brisk emporium.
    The world is full of paper.

    Write to me.

    By Agha Shahid Ali.

  3. A London Thoroughfare. 2 A.M.

    They have watered the street,
    It shines in the glare of lamps,
    Cold, white lamps,
    And lies
    Like a slow-moving river,
    Barred with silver and black.
    Cabs go down it,
    And then another.
    Between them I hear the shuffling of feet.
    Tramps doze on the window-ledges,
    Night-walkers pass along the sidewalks.
    The city is squalid and sinister,
    With the silver-barred street in the midst,
    A river leading nowhere.

    Opposite my window,
    The moon cuts,
    Clear and round,
    Through the plum-coloured night.
    She cannot light the city;
    It is too bright.
    It has white lamps,
    And glitters coldly.

    I stand in the window and watch the moon.
    She is thin and lustreless,
    But I love her.
    I know the moon,
    And this is an alien city.

    By Amy Lowell.

  4. Nights

    Drunk and weeping. It’s another night
    at the live-in opera, and I figure
    it’s going to turn out badly for me.
    The dead next door accept their salutations,
    their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.
    It’s we the living who must run for cover,
    meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,
    and after that comes lechery and lying.
    And, oh, how to piece together a life
    from this scandal and confusion, as if
    the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting
    with us, just for the music’s sake.

    By Harvey Shapiro

  5. Acquainted with the Night

    I have been one acquainted with the night.
    I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
    I have outwalked the furthest city light.

    I have looked down the saddest city lane.
    I have passed by the watchman on his beat
    And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
    When far away an interrupted cry
    Came over houses from another street,

    But not to call me back or say good-bye;
    And further still at an unearthly height,
    One luminary clock against the sky

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
    I have been one acquainted with the night.

    By Robert Frost

  6. The Lateness of the Day

    (For Patricia Weatherby)

    It is the lateness of the day that turns my head,
    that turns my mind and winds my head to ticking clocks,
    the clocks that mock the destinations and designs
    of all the things that I would do and be, set down,
    lined up, like stops upon a route. They stretch away,
    much farther than they first appeared. And time, still young,
    still running on ahead in cruel surprise; too far
    ahead, too far to call back now and ask to wait,
    to ask if there is light enough to travel on.
    It is the lateness of the day that turns my head.

    It is the thinness of the light that hurts my eyes,
    that squints and strains my eyes until they burn and blur;
    blurred and burning with resentment at this light
    which lacks the will to cast a shadow, form a shade,
    a dimness into which unfocused eyes might peer,
    imagining a face, the movement of a form—
    a face and form unable to be seen again
    by other means than these … it does not mean I mourn.
    I’m inconvenienced by the lateness of the day.
    It is the thinness of the light that hurts my eyes.

    It is the darkness of the night that chills the heart,
    that tells the heart the quiet lie it longs to hear:
    that there is life within the noises of the night—
    the creaking board might be a footstep on the stairs,
    the wind which mumbles through the window frame becomes
    the rise and fall of voices from another room
    where dusty emptiness conceals itself and waits
    to brand its barren, useless truth upon the soul …
    the universe looks on, obscure and unconcerned.
    It is the darkness of the night that chills the heart.

    It is the darkness of the night, the thinness of the light,
    it is the lateness of the day that tricks me into whispering
    your name.

    By Dan Maguire

    Sorry this is so late! Finals are really getting the better of me.

  7. Summer Nocturne

    Let us love this distance, since those
    who do not love each other are
    not separated. —Simone Weil

    Night without you, and the dog barking at the silence,
    no doubt at what’s in the silence,
    a deer perhaps pruning the rhododendron
    or that racoon with its brilliant fingers
    testing the garbage can lid by the shed.

    Night I’ve chosen a book to help me think
    about the long that’s in longing, “the space across
    which desire reaches.” Night that finally needs music
    to quiet the dog and whatever enormous animal
    night itself is, appetite without limit.

    Since I seem to want to be hurt a little,
    it’s Stan Getz and “It Never Entered My Mind,”
    and to back him up Johnnie Walker Black
    coming down now from the cabinet to sing
    of its twelve lonely years in the dark.

    Night of small revelations, night of odd comfort.
    Starting to love this distance.
    Starting to feel how present you are in it.

    By Stephen Dunn

  8. Once in the 40’s

    We were alone one night on a long
    road in Montana. This was in winter, a big
    night, far to the stars. We had hitched,
    my wife and I, and left our ride at
    a crossing to go on. Tired and cold—but
    brave—we trudged along. This, we said,
    was our life, watched over, allowed to go
    where we wanted. We said we’d come back some time
    when we got rich. We’d leave the others and find
    a night like this, whatever we had to give,
    and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

    William Stafford

  9. Ships That Pass In The Night

    Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;
    I look far out into the pregnant night,
    Where I can hear a solemn booming gun
    And catch the gleaming of a random light,
    That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing.

    My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;
    For I would hail and check that ship of ships.
    I stretch my hands imploring, cry aloud,
    My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,
    And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.

    O Earth, O Sky, O Ocean, both surpassing,
    O heart of mine, O soul that dreads the dark!
    Is there no hope for me? Is there no way
    That I may sight and check that speeding bark
    Which out of sight and sound is passing, passing?

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  10. Flying at Night

    Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
    Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
    like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
    some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
    snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
    back into the little system of his care.
    All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
    tug with bright streets at lonely lights like

    by Ted Kooser