Eight Harvard Poets/Night Piece

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NIGHT PIECE


A SILVER web has the moon spun,
A silver web upon all the sky,
Where the frail stars quiver, every one
Like tangled gnats that hum and die.

The moon has tangled the dull night
In her silver skein and set alight
Each dew-damp branch with milky flame.
And huge the moon broods on the night.

My soul is caught in the web of the moon,
Like a shrilling gnat in a spider's web.
Importunate memories shrill in my ears
Like the gnats that die in the spider web.

Lovely as death, in the moon's shroud,
Were town streets, grey houses, dim,
Full of strange peace in the silent night.
As we walked our footsteps clattered loud.
We felt the night as a troubled song …
Oh, the triumphing sense of life a-throb,
Behind those walls, in those dark streets,
Like the sound of a river, swift, unseen,

Flowing in darkness. Oh, the hoarse

Half-heard murmur swirling beneath
The snowy beauty of moonlight. …

And that other night,
When the river rippled with faint spears
Of street lights vaguely reflected. Grey
The evening, like an opal; low,
A grey moon shrouded in sea fog:
Air pregnant with spring; rasp of my steps
Beside the lapping water; within
The dark. Down the worn out years a sob
Of broken loves; old pain
Of dead farewells; and one face
Fading into grey. …

A silver web has the moon spun,
A silver web over all the sky.
In her flooding glory, one by one,

Like gnats in a web the stars die.