Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE STALLION OF NIGHT, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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THE STALLION OF NIGHT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the soft, gray-breasted even like a carrier-dove / goes freed
Last Line: Who stamps at the fords of the starlight, and neighs at the gates of the moon!
Subject(s): Dreams; Heaven; Moon; Night; Silence; Nightmares; Paradise; Bedtime


When the soft, gray-breasted Even like a carrier-dove goes freed,
Cloaking the world with her wings as she floats from the hand of God,
Then sunset o'erstreameth heaven like the mane of a galloping steed,
And Man's soul is absorbed into Silence like as water that seeps through the
sod.

So with eyes on that wild horizon where all of my dreams redeemed
Glow and take form with the colors of cloud and of changing light,
I beheld the splendor that flies on the race that all poets have dreamed.
Ere my ears were athrob to his hoofbeats, I looked on the stallion of night!

His mane was the flickering golden flare of the sun as it sank.
Black of withers and breast and haunches he loomed on the violet West.
And the pride of his lineage was told in the strength of each heaving flank,
And the star of the evening sparkled full-rayed on his noble crest.

He gathered and reached to his running where clouds were the drifting smoke
Of his hooves that spurned the mountains, struck sparks where the stars
outshone,—
And dark on the skyline, stunning the hills whence echoes broke
Hard on his drumming gallop, he surged and he thundered on!

The soul that could bestride him were heir to a heavy helm
But prince of the farthest planets that circle about their sun,
For only the angels may guide him, who ride for no idle realm,—
And one poet who sang white daisies on the downs of Storrington!

Oh, sweet and swift immortal heart "of honey and wild fire"
That clung'st Earth's cross of Passion till thine arms had Heaven in girth,
Archangel cohorts cleave apart for this steed of my strong desire
To hear the new song thy stars sing as they answer thine Anthem of Earth!

Phantasmal—a vision—to vanish dislimned as a film from the sight?
Aye, dazed by such star-bright Heavens I must turn from their splendor soon.
Yet my heart may never banish this dream of the stallion of night
Who stamps at the fords of the starlight, and neighs at the gates of the moon!





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