Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Can't Take The Sky From Me

"Boyhood in Tobacco Country" by Robert Penn Warren

All I can dream tonight is an autumn sunset,
Red as hayrick burning. The groves,
Not yet leafless, are black against red, as though, 
Leaf by leaf, they were hammered of bronze blackened
To timelessness. Far off, from the curing barns of tobacco,
Blue smoke, in pale streaking, clings
To the world's dim, undefinable bulge.

Far past slashed stubs, homeward or homeless, a black
Voice, deeper and bluer than sea-heart, sweeter
Than sadness or sorghum, utters the namelessness
Of life to the birth of a first star,
And again, I am walking a dusk-silent, dusky lane, and try
To forget my own name and be part of the world.

I move in its timelessness. From the deep and premature midnight 
Of woodland, I hear the first whip-o-will's
Precious grief, and my young heart,
As darkling I stand, yearns for a grief
To be worthy of that sound. Ah, fool! Meanwhile,
Arrogant, eastward, lifts the slow dawn of the harvest moon.

Enormous, smoky, smoldering, it stirs.
First visibly, then paling in retardation, it begins
The long climb zenithward to preside
There whitely on what the year has wrought.
What have the years wrought? I walk the house.
Oh, grief! Oh, joy! Tonight
The same season's moon holds sky-height.

The dark roof hides the sky.

"Full Moon" by William Clayton


  1. Oh, Robert Penn beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Julie! You've inspired me to update the "Poetry spotlight" section on my blog. :)

  2. Besides being a wonderful writer yourself, you share so many great examples of poetry. This was absolutely moving!