Nuit Blanche

By Amy Lowell 1874–1925 Amy Lowell
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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Poet Amy Lowell 1874–1925

POET’S REGION U.S., New England


Subjects Music, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Arts & Sciences, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Imagist

 Amy  Lowell


An oft-quoted remark attributed to poet Amy Lowell applies to both her determined personality and her sense of humor: "God made me a business woman," Lowell is reported to have quipped, "and I made myself a poet." During a career that spanned just over a dozen years, she wrote and published over 650 poems, yet scholars cite Lowell's tireless efforts to awaken American readers to contemporary trends in poetry as her more . . .

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SUBJECT Music, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Arts & Sciences, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., New England


Poetic Terms Imagist

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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