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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
Born in 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida, James Weldon Johnson was a national organizer for the NAACP and an author of poetry and nonfiction...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Night
A Clear Midnight
by Walt Whitman
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
by Vachel Lindsay
Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
At Deep Midnight
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
At Night the States
by Alice Notley
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Flying at Night
by Ted Kooser
Hard Night
by Christian Wiman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
Here and Now
by Stephen Dunn
Hymn to the Night
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the City of Night
by John Gould Fletcher
La Noche
by Anselm Hollo
Last
by Maxine Scates
Late Night Ode
by J. D. McClatchy
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
Night
by Carsten René Nielsen
Night Air
by C. Dale Young
Night Blooming Jasmine
by Giovanni Pascoli
Night Drafts
by Tony Sanders
Night Funeral in Harlem
by Langston Hughes
Night Songs
by Thomas Kinsella
Nights On The Peninsula
by D. Nurkse
On a Night Like This
by Michael Teig
One Night
by Mathias Svalina
Radar Data #12
by Lytton Smith
Rhapsody on a Windy Night
by T. S. Eliot
Sawdust
by Sharon Bryan
Ships That Pass in the Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Summer Night, Riverside
by Sara Teasdale
Summer Stars
by Carl Sandburg
The First Night
by Billy Collins
The Sun Has Long Been Set
by William Wordsworth
To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Unity
by Pablo Neruda
Window
by Carl Sandburg
Related Prose
Poems about Night
Other Sonnets
A Certain Slant of Sunlight
by Ted Berrigan
A Sonnet from the Archive Of Love's Failures, Volumes 1-3.5 Million
by Anne Boyer
Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
American Sonnet (10)
by Wanda Coleman
American Sonnet (35)
by Wanda Coleman
Anthem for Doomed Youth
by Wilfred Owen
Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet
by Eavan Boland
Autumn
by Richard Garcia
Chopin
by Emma Lazarus
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
by William Wordsworth
Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)
by John Donne
Discourse
by Forrest Hamer
Echoes
by Emma Lazarus
Gapped Sonnet
by Suzanne Gardinier
God's Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins, read by Karen Volkman
Half-Hearted Sonnet
by Kim Addonizio
History
by Robert Lowell
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I shall forget you presently, my dear (Sonnet XI)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I think I should have loved you presently (Sonnet IX)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love Song for Love Songs
by Rafael Campo
My Letters! all dead paper... (Sonnet 28)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)
by William Shakespeare
November
by William Cullen Bryant
Oil & Steel
by Henri Cole
Sappho and Phaon: Sonnet III
by Mary Robinson
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (Sonnet 18)
by William Shakespeare
Shawl
by Albert Goldbarth
Silence
by Thomas Hood
Sonnet
by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
Sonnet 1
by Gwendolyn Bennett
Sonnet 100
by Lord Brooke Fulke Greville
Sonnet 101 [Ways apt and new to sing of love I'd find]
by Petrarch
Sonnet 131 [I'd sing of Love in such a novel fashion]
by Petrarch
Sonnet 6
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnet 8 [Set me where as the sun doth parch the green]
by Petrarch
Sonnet V
by Mahmoud Darwish
Sonnet [Nothing was ever what it claimed to be,]
by Karen Volkman
Sonnet—Silence
by Edgar Allan Poe
Testing Gardening
by Marie Ponsot
The Clouded Morning
by Jones Very
Today We Make the Poet's Words Our Own
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
by John Milton
Without Discussion
by Samuel Amadon
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Mother Night

 
by James Weldon Johnson

Eternities before the first-born day,
Or ere the first sun fledged his wings of flame,
Calm Night, the everlasting and the same,
A brooding mother over chaos lay.
And whirling suns shall blaze and then decay,
Shall run their fiery courses and then claim
The haven of the darkness whence they came;
Back to Nirvanic peace shall grope their way. 
  
So when my feeble sun of life burns out,
And sounded is the hour for my long sleep,
I shall, full weary of the feverish light,
Welcome the darkness without fear or doubt,
And heavy-lidded, I shall softly creep
Into the quiet bosom of the Night.






From The Book of American Negro Poetry, edited by James Weldon Johnson, published in 1922. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 18, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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