Night Feeding

By Muriel Rukeyser 1913–1980 Muriel Rukeyser
Deeper than sleep but not so deep as death
I lay there dreaming and my magic head
remembered and forgot. On first cry I
remembered and forgot and did believe.
I knew love and I knew evil:
woke to the burning song and the tree burning blind,
despair of our days and the calm milk-giver who
knows sleep, knows growth, the sex of fire and grass,
renewal of all waters and the time of the stars
and the black snake with gold bones.
 
Black sleeps, gold burns; on second cry I woke
fully and gave to feed and fed on feeding.
Gold seed, green pain, my wizards in the earth
walked through the house, black in the morning dark.
Shadows grew in my veins, my bright belief,
my head of dreams deeper than night and sleep.
Voices of all black animals crying to drink,
cries of all birth arise, simple as we,
found in the leaves, in clouds and dark, in dream,
deep as this hour, ready again to sleep.
 

Muriel Rukeyser, "Night Feeding" from The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2006 by Muriel Rukeyser.  Reprinted by permission of William L. Rukeyser.

Source: The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Muriel Rukeyser 1913–1980

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Religion, The Spiritual, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

 Muriel  Rukeyser

Biography

Although poet Muriel Rukeyser often provoked a varying critical response to her work, there was never any doubt during her five-decade literary career that a resounding passion was on display. Of her first book, the award-winning collection Theory of Flight, W. R. Benet remarked in the Saturday Review of Literature : "She is a radical politically, but she writes as a poet not a propagandist. When you hold this book in your hand . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Religion, The Spiritual, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.