A November Night

November Night

A November Night

A November Night

by Sara Teasdale

November Night


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!


A November Night


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