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Song of the Black Nights by Louise Mack

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Some sing Hymns to the Dawn;
Let the sing, I will not bring
My harp to keep accompaniment.
Some make Music of Moons;
Ah, pale Nocturne, my pulses spurn
Your liquid silver, your dim, wet gold.
I worship you, Moon, but you shall not hold
My soul in your hands, and the Sun's red poem
Shall pass me by like a hidden cithern.

Moon, is it fault of mine that I do not set
   Your tender crystal high in my heart?
Moon, is it shame to me that I will not let
   Your fragile shining light me to Heaven?
      Fault or shame, I will keep my name
      To set at the end of the only song
      I ever will sing, my whole life long.

Sun, is it written down in your red, red book
How I was faithless, who love you so well?
Then is it written, too, that my false eyes look
Up to your face, Sun, and all's forgiven?
      Faith or fall, I must keep my all
      To swell the sound of the only song
      I ever will sing, my whole life long.

Dawn, shall I weep that the youth of the world from me
  Has passed and left me lonely and old.
Blind to the perfect rose that I would not see
   Your beckoning blossom, tenderly calling.
      Blind with tears, I have turned the years
      To swell the tides of the only song
      I will ever sing, my whole life long.

Night, will you bear as I lie at your shadowy gate,
And silent, silent, wait for your perfect breast.
Night, will you know, though my Wandering Heart is late,
It is yours at last, and is yours for ever.
   Little Dawn and the Middle Morn,
   And Moon and Sun, I have left them all
For the tireless peace of your passionless thrall.

Listen, listen my Heart,
   Let us lay the white Moon here asleep,
Kiss her, and say a low good-bye.
   Cover her face with the vines that creep
   Through sunny places. Ah, do not weep,
   Let us lay her here, asleep.

Listen, listen my Heart!
   Let us clasp the red Sun once and then
Leave Him and utter no good-bye.
   Cover his limbs with eglantine
   Too heavy and honeyed for mortal men,
   Let us clasp him once, and then --

         Then to the Night,
         And good-bye to light,
         For ever, and ever, and ever.
Oh tender, noble, imperioUs, black,
Best and bravest, shield that I lack,
And lacking, fail in the fight out there,
Wrap me round in your long back hair,
Cover me close with your tender arms,
Blot out the memory of the stars and morn.
Wrap me close in your long back hair,
Warm and fragrant, and when I stare
Up through its masses to where the trees
Mutter above me their Symphonies,
I shall see no trees, and the Symphonies
Will persuade my beliefless, vagrant soul
That she is the only music-maker,
Only law giver, condoner, law-breaker...
And wrapped in your shdow, so close, so strong,
Lying silent, perhaps ere long
I shall make, or capture one perfect song.

         Wrapped in the Night!
         Ah, the wild delight
Of the great fresh world that creeps down and near.
         Wrapped in the Night,
         Shut out from the light.
At last I can listen, at last I can hear.
At last I have caught the meaning
That haunted me always, but always fled
Just as I gained it. Now, living or dead
I shall never be haunted any more,
For the black, black night has revealed the shore
Of the furthrest sea in any world,
Has carried me up to the highest steep,
Has borne me under the under-deep,
And lying silent I know, ere long,
I shall catch and capture my perfect song.
My splendid, passionate scythe-like song,
Blown of the dark as a soul is blown
Out of the black unknown.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 May 1901

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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