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Night Post by :jamesfw Category :Poems Author :John S. Adams Date :October 2011 Read :2261

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Night

I'VE watched the sun go down, and evening draw
Its twilight mantle o'er the passive earth,
And hang its robe of blue, all gemmed with stars,
High over all for mortal eyes to gaze at.
And now I come to tread this sodded earth,
To walk alone in Nature's vaulted hall;
Yet, not alone;--I hear the rustling leaf,
The cricket's note, the night-bird's early lay;
I feel the cool breeze as it fans my brow,
And scent the fragrance of the untainted air.
I love the night. There's something in its shade
That sends a soothing influence o'er the soul,
And fits it for reflection, sober thought.
It comes bearing a balm to weary ones,
A something undefinable, yet felt
By souls that feel the want of something real.
And now 't is night, and well it is that I
Am here. I stand, my hand on this old tree,
Pressing its mossy side, with no one near
I can call fellow in the human strife,
The great, unfinished drama of this life.
Alone, alone, with Nature and its God,
I'll sit me down, and for a moment muse
On busy scenes, and, like some warrior chief,
Behold, yet mingle not in earth's great acts.
To-night how various are the states of men!
Some, bowed by sickness, press their sleepless couch,
Wishing while day doth last that night would come,
And now that night is with them wish for day.
Remorse holds some in its unyielding grasp;
Despair, more cruel yet, haunts some men's souls;
Both, ministers of justice conscience sends
To do its fearful bidding in those breasts
Which have rebelled and disavowed its rule.
Perchance, a maiden happy as a queen
To-night doth fix her destiny. A happy throng
Gather around, and envy her her bliss.
They little know what magic power lies low
In the filled wine-cup as they pass it round;
They little think it plants a venomed dart
In the glad soul of her whose lips do press
Its dancing sparkles.
Sorrow's nucleus!
Round that cup shall twine memories so dark
That night were noonday to them, to their gloom.
Dash it aside! See you not how laughs
Within the chalice brim an evil eye?
Each sparkling ray that from its depth comes up
Is the foul tempter's hand outstretched to grasp
The thoughtless that may venture in his reach.
How to-night the throng press on to bend
The knee to Baal, and to place a crown
On Magog's princely head! Dollars and dimes,
A purse well-filled, a soul that pants for more;
An eye that sees a farthing in the dust,
And in its glitter plenitude of joy,
Yet sees no beauty in the stars above,
No cause for gladness in the light of day,--
A hand that grasps the wealth of earth, and yields
For sake of it the richer stores of heaven;
A soul that loves the perishing of earth,
And hates that wealth which rust can ne'er corrupt.
How many such! How many bar their souls
'Gainst every good, yet ope it wide to wrong!
This night they're all in arms. They watch and wait;
Now that the sun hath fled, and evening's shade
Doth follow in its path, they put in play
The plans which they in daylight have devised,
Entrapping thoughtless feet, and leading down
The flower-strewn path a daughter or a son,
On whose fair, white brow, the warm, warm moisture
Of a parent's kiss seems yet to linger.
Stay! daughter, son, O, heed a friend's advice,
Rush not in thoughtless gayety along!
Beware of pit-fills. Listen and you'll hear
From some deep pit a warning voice to thee;
For thousands low have fallen, who once had
Hopes, prospects, fair as thine; they listened, fell!
And from the depths of their deep misery call
On thee to think. O, follow not, but reach
A helping hand to raise them from their woe!
Clouds hide the moon; how now doth wrong prevail!
Wrong holdeth carnival, and death is near.
O, what a sight were it for man to see,
Should there on this dark, shrouded hour
Burst in an instant forth a noonday light!
How many who are deeméd righteous men,
And bear a fair exterior by day,
Would now be seen in fellowship with sin!
Laughing, and sending forth their jibes and jeers,
And doing deeds which Infamy might own.
But not alone to wrong and base intrigue
Do minister these shades of night; for Love
Holds high her beacon Charity to guide
To deeds that angels might be proud to own.
Beneath the shadows that these clouds do cast,
Hath many a willing hand bestowed a gift
Its modest worth in secret would confer.
No human eye beheld the welcome purse
Dropped at the poor man's humble cottage door;
But angels saw the act, and they have made
A lasting record of it on the scroll
That bears the register of human life.
Many a patient sufferer watches now
The passing hours, and counts them as they flee.
Many a watcher with a sleepless eye
Keeps record of the sick man's every breath.
Many a mother bends above her child
In deep solicitude, in deathless love.
Night wears away, and up the eastern sky
The dawn approaches. So shall life depart,--
This life of ours on earth,--and a new birth
Approach to greet us with immortal joys,
So gently on our inner life shall come
The light of heaven.
Time moveth on, and I must join again
The busy toil of life; and I must go.
And yet I would not. I would rather stay
And talk with these green woods,--for woods can talk.
Didst ever hear their voice? In spring they speak
Of early love and youth, and ardent hope;
In summer, of the noon of wedded life,
All buds and blossoms and sweet-smelling flowers;
In autumn, of domestic bliss with all its fund
Of ripe enjoyments, and then winter hears
The leafless trees sing mysterious hymns,
And point their long lean arms to homes above.
Yes, the old woods talk, and I might hold
A sweet communion here with them to-night.
Farewell to Night; farewell these thoughts of mine,
For day hath come.


(The end)
John S. Adams's poem: Night

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