A November Night

Sara Teasdale

     There!  See the line of lights,
     A chain of stars down either side the street --
     Why can't you lift the chain and give it to me,
     A necklace for my throat?  I'd twist it round
     And you could play with it.  You smile at me
     As though I were a little dreamy child
     Behind whose eyes the fairies live. . . .  And see,
     The people on the street look up at us
     All envious.  We are a king and queen,
     Our royal carriage is a motor bus,
     We watch our subjects with a haughty joy. . . .
     How still you are!  Have you been hard at work
     And are you tired to-night?  It is so long
     Since I have seen you -- four whole days, I think.
     My heart is crowded full of foolish thoughts
     Like early flowers in an April meadow,
     And I must give them to you, all of them,
     Before they fade.  The people I have met,
     The play I saw, the trivial, shifting things
     That loom too big or shrink too little, shadows
     That hurry, gesturing along a wall,
     Haunting or gay -- and yet they all grow real
     And take their proper size here in my heart
     When you have seen them. . . .  There's the Plaza now,
     A lake of light!  To-night it almost seems
     That all the lights are gathered in your eyes,
     Drawn somehow toward you.  See the open park
     Lying below us with a million lamps
     Scattered in wise disorder like the stars.
     We look down on them as God must look down
     On constellations floating under Him
     Tangled in clouds. . . .  Come, then, and let us walk
     Since we have reached the park.  It is our garden,
     All black and blossomless this winter night,
     But we bring April with us, you and I;
     We set the whole world on the trail of spring.
     I think that every path we ever took
     Has marked our footprints in mysterious fire,
     Delicate gold that only fairies see.
     When they wake up at dawn in hollow tree-trunks
     And come out on the drowsy park, they look
     Along the empty paths and say, "Oh, here
     They went, and here, and here, and here!  Come, see,
     Here is their bench, take hands and let us dance
     About it in a windy ring and make
     A circle round it only they can cross
     When they come back again!" . . .  Look at the lake --
     Do you remember how we watched the swans
     That night in late October while they slept?
     Swans must have stately dreams, I think.  But now
     The lake bears only thin reflected lights
     That shake a little.  How I long to take
     One from the cold black water -- new-made gold
     To give you in your hand!  And see, and see,
     There is a star, deep in the lake, a star!
     Oh, dimmer than a pearl -- if you stoop down
     Your hand could almost reach it up to me. . . .

     There was a new frail yellow moon to-night --
     I wish you could have had it for a cup
     With stars like dew to fill it to the brim. . . .

     How cold it is!  Even the lights are cold;
     They have put shawls of fog around them, see!
     What if the air should grow so dimly white
     That we would lose our way along the paths
     Made new by walls of moving mist receding
     The more we follow. . . .  What a silver night!
     That was our bench the time you said to me
     The long new poem -- but how different now,
     How eerie with the curtain of the fog
     Making it strange to all the friendly trees!
     There is no wind, and yet great curving scrolls
     Carve themselves, ever changing, in the mist.
     Walk on a little, let me stand here watching
     To see you, too, grown strange to me and far. . . .
     I used to wonder how the park would be
     If one night we could have it all alone --
     No lovers with close arm-encircled waists
     To whisper and break in upon our dreams.
     And now we have it!  Every wish comes true!
     We are alone now in a fleecy world;
     Even the stars have gone.  We two alone!

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