I want no horns to rouse me up to-night,   
And trumpets make too clamorous a ring   
To fit my mood, it is so weary white   
I have no wish for doing any thing.

A music coaxed from humming strings would please;   
Not plucked, but drawn in creeping cadences   
Across a sunset wall where some Marquise
Picks a pale rose amid strange silences.

Ghostly and vaporous her gown sweeps by   
The twilight dusking wall, I hear her feet   
Delaying on the gravel, and a sigh,
Briefly permitted, touches the air like sleet

And it is dark, I hear her feet no more.   
A red moon leers beyond the lily-tank.   
A drunken moon ogling a sycamore,   
Running long fingers down its shining flank.

A lurching moon, as nimble as a clown,
Cuddling the flowers and trees which burn like glass.
Red, kissing lips, I feel you on my gown—
Kiss me, red lips, and then pass—pass.

Music, you are pitiless to-night.
And I so old, so cold, so languorously white.


  • Amy Lowell, “Nuit Blanche” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright © 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © renewed 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Brinton P. Roberts, and G. D'Andelot, Esquire. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

  • Source: Selected Poems of Amy Lowell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)

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