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All Night All Night

Written by: Delmore Schwartz | Biography
 | Quotes (4) |
 "I have been one acquainted with the night" - Robert Frost


Rode in the train all night, in the sick light.
A bird Flew parallel with a singular will.
In daydream's moods and attitudes The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read, Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.
Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights Numb on the ceiling.
And the bird flew parallel and still As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle, Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar -- The bored center of this vision and condition looked and looked Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well Of the great darkness under the slick glitter, And he was only one among eight million riders and readers.
And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum Of the long determined passage passed through him By his body mimicked and echoed.
And then the train Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh-- The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession.
A bored child went to get a cup of water, And crushed the cup because the water too was Boring and merely boredom's struggle.
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops Drip down the fleece of many dinners.
And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified, At regular intervals, post after post Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.
And then the bird cried as if to all of us: 0 your life, your lonely life What have you ever done with it, And done with the great gift of consciousness? What will you ever do with your life before death's knife Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate? As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls, Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down, An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown: This is the way that night passes by, this Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable abyss.



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