From Noon to Starry Night

From Noon to Starry Night


THOU orb full-dazzling! thou hot October noon!
Flooding with sheeny light the gray beach sand,
The sibilant near sea with vistas far and foam,
And tawny streaks and shades and spreading blue;
O sun of noon refulgent! my special word to thee.

Hear me illustrious!
Thy lover me, for always I have loved thee,
Even as basking babe, then happy boy alone by some
     wood edge, thy touching-distant beams enough,
Or man matured, or young or old, as now to thee I
     launch my invocation.

(Thou canst not with thy dumbness me deceive,
I know before the fitting man all Nature yields,
Though answering not in words, the skies, trees,
     hear his voice — and thou O sun,
As for thy throes, thy perturbations, sudden breaks
     and shafts of flame gigantic,
I understand them, I know those flames, those
     perturbations well.)

Thou that with fructifying heat and light,
O'er myriad farms, o'er lands and waters North
     and South,
O'er Mississippi's endless course, o'er Texas'
     grassy plains, Kanada's woods,
O'er all the globe that turns its face to thee shining
     in space,
Thou that impartially infoldest all, not only continents,
Thou that to grapes and weeds and little wild
     flowers givest so liberally,

Shed, shed thyself on mine and me, with but a fleeting
     ray out of thy million millions,
Strike though these chants.

Nor only launch thy subtle dazzle and thy strength
     for these,
Prepare the later afternoon of me myself —
    prepare my lengthening shadows,
Prepare my starry nights.

1881 1881



SAUNTERING the pavement or riding the country by-road,
     lo, such faces!
Faces of friendship, precision, caution, sauvity, ideality,
The spiritual-prescient face, the always welcome common
     benevolent face,
The face of the singing of music, the grand faces of
     natural lawyers and judges broad at the back-top,
The faces of hunters and fishers bulged at the brows,
     the shaved blanch'd faces of orthodox citizens,
The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist's face,
The ugly face of some beautiful soul, the handsome
     detested or despised face,
The sacred faces of infants, the illuminated face of the
     mother of many children,
The face of an amour, the face of veneration,
The face as of a dream, the face of an immobile rock,
The face withdrawn of its good and bad, a castrated
A wild hawk, his wings clipp'd by the clipper,
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife
     of the gelder.

Sauntering the pavement thus, or crossing the
     ceaseless ferry, faces and faces and faces,
I see them and complain not, and am content with all.


Do you suppose I could be content with all if I
     thought them their own finalè?

This now is too lamentable a face for a man,
Some abject louse asking leave to be, cringing for
Some milk-nosed maggot blessing what lets it wrig
     to its hole.

This face is a dog's snout sniffing for garbage,
Snakes nest in that mouth, I hear the sibilant threat.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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