Night

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Out of the East, as from an unknown shore,
Thou comest with thy children in thine arms,
Slumber and Dream, whom mortals all adore,
Their flowing raiment sculptured to their charms:
Soft on thy breast thy lovely children rest,
Laid like twin roses in one balmy nest.
Silent thou comest, swiftly too and slow.
There is no other presence like to thine,
When thou approachest with thy babes divine,
Thy shadowy face above them bending low,
Blowing the ringlets from their brows of snow.
Oft have I taken Sleep from thy dark arms,
And fondled her fair head, with poppies wreathed,
Within my bosom's depths, until its storms
With her were hushed and I but faintly breathed.
And then her sister, Dream, with frolic art
Arose from rest, and on my sleeping heart
Blew bubbles of dreams where elfin worlds were lost;
Worlds where my stranger soul sang songs to me,
And talked with spirits by a rainbowed sea,
Or smiled, an unfamiliar shape of frost,
Floating on gales of breathless melody.
Day comes to us in garish glory garbed;
But thou, thou bringest to the tired heart
Rest and deep silence, in which are absorbed
All the vain tumults of the mind and mart.
Whether thou comest with hands full of stars,
Or clothed in storm and clouds, the lightning bars,
Rolling the thunder like some mighty dress,
God moves with thee; we seem to hear His feet,
Wind-like, along the floors of Heaven beat;
To see His face, revealed in awfulness,
Through thee, O Night, to ban us or to bless.

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