O Best of All Nights, Return and Return Again

By James Laughlin 1914–1997 James Laughlin
How she let her long hair down over her shoulders, making a love cave around her face. Return and return again.
How when the lamplight was lowered she pressed against him, twining her fingers in his. Return and return again.
How their legs swam together like dolphins and their toes played like little tunnies. Return and return again.
How she sat beside him cross-legged, telling him stories of her childhood. Return and return again.
How she closed her eyes when his were open, how they breathed together, breathing each other. Return and return again.
How they fell into slumber, their bodies curled together like two spoons. Return and return again.
How they went together to Otherwhere, the fairest land they had ever seen. Return and return again.
O best of all nights, return and return again.

NOTES: After the Pervigilium Veneris and Propertius’ “Nox mihi candida.”

James Laughlin, “O Best of All Nights, Return and Return Again” from Poems New and Selected. Copyright © 1996 by James Laughlin. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poems New and Selected (1998)

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Poet James Laughlin 1914–1997

Subjects Love, Relationships, Romantic Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

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 James  Laughlin

Biography

While a sophomore on leave of absence from Harvard University, James Laughlin met Ezra Pound in Rapallo, Italy, and was invited to attend the "Ezuversity"—Pound's term for the private tutoring he gave Laughlin over meals, on hikes, or whenever the master paused in his labors. "I stayed several months in Rapallo at the 'Ezuversity,' learning and reading," recalls Laughlin in an interview with Linda Kuehl for the New York Times . . .

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SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Romantic Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

Poetic Terms Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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