George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

Songs Of The Summer Nights - Poem by George MacDonald

I.

The dreary wind of night is out,
Homeless and wandering slow;
O'er pale seas moaning like a doubt,
It breathes, but will not blow.

It sighs from out the helpless past,
Where doleful things abide;
Gray ghosts of dead thought sail aghast
Across its ebbing tide.

O'er marshy pools it faints and flows,
All deaf and dumb and blind;
O'er moor and mountain aimless goes-
The listless woesome wind!

Nay, nay!-breathe on, sweet wind of night!
The sigh is all in me;
Flow, fan, and blow, with gentle might,
Until I wake and see.


II.

The west is broken into bars
Of orange, gold, and gray;
Gone is the sun, fast come the stars,
And night infolds the day.

My boat glides with the gliding stream,
Following adown its breast
One flowing mirrored amber gleam,
The death-smile of the west.

The river moves; the sky is still,
No ceaseless quest it knows:
Thy bosom swells, thy fair eyes fill
At sight of its repose.

The ripples run; all patient sit
The stars above the night.
In shade and gleam the waters flit:
The heavens are changeless bright!


III.

Alone I lie, buried amid
The long luxurious grass;
The bats flit round me, born and hid
In twilight's wavering mass.

The fir-top floats, an airy isle,
High o'er the mossy ground;
Harmonious silence breathes the while
In scent instead of sound.

The flaming rose glooms swarthy red;
The borage gleams more blue;
Dim-starred with white, a flowery bed
Glimmers the rich dusk through.

Hid in the summer grass I lie,
Lost in the great blue cave;
My body gazes at the sky,
And measures out its grave.


IV.

What art thou, gathering dusky cool,
In slow gradation fine?
Death's lovely shadow, flickering full
Of eyes about to shine.

When weary Day goes down below,
Thou leanest o'er his grave,
Revolving all the vanished show
The gracious splendour gave.

Or art thou not she rather-say-
Dark-browed, with luminous eyes,
Of whom is born the mighty Day,
That fights and saves and dies?

For action sleeps with sleeping light;
Calm thought awakes with thee:
The soul is then a summer night,
With stars that shine and see.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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