Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA NIGHT (STRAITS OF CARQUINEZ), by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA NIGHT (STRAITS OF CARQUINEZ), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Like miraculous shining electrum / this wide amber light
Last Line: Hushes heaven, whence radiance is drifting!
Subject(s): Calm; Moon; Night; Shadows; Silence; Sleep; Placid; Undisturbed; Tranquility; Bedtime


Like miraculous shining electrum
This wide amber light.
As a lyre that is plucked by a plectrum
The wind in the firs on the height,
The wind with its resonant breath!
And the shrillness of birds, as we hear it
Caught forth from this stillness like death,
Amazes and dazes the spirit!

Does a murdered man drift in the marshes
With wide, staring eyes?
For his blood stains the tules; and harsh is
The voice of his vengeance that cries
Through those streaked reds swift-shimmering to bronze,
As the tule-reeds rustle and shiver
Where the tall eucalyptus responds
Red and silver, agleam o'er the river.

Then the west dulls to lead, and a sally
Of blackbirds goes by
Whistling far o'er the mist-brimming valley,
Sombre streamers that fade on the sky
Through the duskiness shredding away;
And the night a black panther comes leaping
From the hills that are over the bay,
From his lair to the homes of the sleeping.

For the night seems a beast sudden-savage,
A terror to men,
A stealthy beast stalking to ravage;
And we long for the firelight again
And the mingling of voices grown dear.
For vast Voices are vibrant around us.
Pointing sharp to our shadowy sphere,
See! A thousand star-fingers have found us!

Then the moon like a delicate carvel
With shrouds of bright gauze
Mounts from silver cloud surf. At the marvel
Our hearts throb with prescience—and pause.
Distant planets crowd close. Through a mist,
From blue night's holy eileton lifting,
Some ineffable far eucharist
Hushes heaven, whence radiance is drifting!





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