Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

Any Night


Look, the eucalyptus, the Atlas pine,
the yellowing ash, all the trees
are gone, and I was older than
all of them. I am older than the moon,
than the stars that fill my plate,
than the unseen planets that huddle
together here at the end of a year
no one wanted. A year more than a year,
in which the sparrows learned
to fly backwards into eternity.
Their brothers and sisters saw this
and refuse to build nests. Before
the week is over they will all
have gone, and the chorus of love
that filled my yard and spilled
into my kitchen each evening
will be gone. I will have to learn
to sing in the voices of pure joy
and pure pain. I will have to forget
my name, my childhood, the years
under the cold dominion of the clock
so that this voice, torn and cracked,
can reach the low hills that shielded
the orange trees once. I will stand
on the back porch as the cold
drifts in, and sing, not for joy,
not for love, not even to be heard.
I will sing so that the darkness
can take hold and whatever
is left, the fallen fruit, the last
leaf, the puzzled squirrel, the child
far from home, lost, will believe
this could be any night. That boy,
walking alone, thinking of nothing
or reciting his favorite names
to the moon and stars, let him
find the home he left this morning,
let him hear a prayer out
of the raging mouth of the wind.
Let him repeat that prayer,
the prayer that night follows day,
that life follows death, that in time
we find our lives. Don't let him see
all that has gone. Let him love
the darkness. Look, he's running
and singing too. He could be happy.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: childhood, moon, running, joy, home, believe, together, happy, child, lost, pain, wind, alone, night, death, love, sister, star, brother, tree

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Any Night by Philip Levine )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Staying Alive I Am, Rohit Sapra
  2. Life's Toolbox, Arno Le Roux
  3. Power To Pause Time, Arno Le Roux
  4. Taste It, Arno Le Roux
  5. Calm, Arno Le Roux
  6. Wing Of Thoughts, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  7. Lady Fire, Arno Le Roux
  8. Memories, Arno Le Roux
  9. Burning Up, Arno Le Roux
  10. A Warm Hand, Arno Le Roux

Poem of the Day

poet Robert William Service

Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech
Two more so tenderly complete:
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Paul Muldoon

 

Trending Poems

  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Home And Love, Robert William Service
  4. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  7. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. Hedgehog, Paul Muldoon
  10. Being With You, Heather Burns

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]