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Four Glimpses of Night

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Like a woman hurrying to her lover
Night comes to the room of the world
And lies, yielding and content
Against the cool round face
Of the moon.
Night is a curious child, wandering
Between earth and sky, creeping
In windows and doors, daubing
The entire neighborhood
With purple paint.
Is an apologetic mother
Cloth in hand
Following after.
From door to door
Night sells
Black bags of peppermint stars
Heaping cones of vanilla moon
His wares are gone
Then shuffles homeward
Jingling the gray coins
Of daybreak.
Night’s brittle song, sliver-thin
Shatters into a billion fragments
Of quiet shadows
At the blaring jazz
Of a morning sun.

Frank  Marshall Davis, "Four Glimpses of Night" from Black Moods: Collected Poems, edited by John Edgar Tidwell. Copyright © 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.  Reprinted by permission of University of Illinois Press.
Source: Black Moods: Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 2007)
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Four Glimpses of Night

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  • Frank Marshall Davis's poetry "not only questioned social ills in his own time but also inspired Blacks in the politically charged 1960s," according to John Edgar Tidwell in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Sometimes likened to poets such as Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, and Langston Hughes, Davis published his first volume, Black Man's Verse, in 1935. The book met with much applause from critics, including Harriet Monroe, who concluded in Poetry that its author was "a poet of authentic inspiration, who belongs not only among the best of his race, but who need not lean upon his race for recognition as an impassioned singer with something to say." Davis concerned himself with portraying Black life, protesting racial inequalities, and promoting Black pride. The poet described his work thus in the poem "Frank Marshall Davis: Writer" from his I Am the American Negro: "When I wrote / I dipped my...

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