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About this Poem 

“Call of the Night ” was published in Harper’s Weekly on December 23, 1911. It appears in Barnes’s Collected Poems: With Notes Toward the Memoirs (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005). 

Call of the Night

Dark, and the wind-blurred pines,
           With a glimmer of light between.
Then I, entombed for an hourless night
           With the world of things unseen.

Mist, the dust of flowers,
           Leagues, heavy with promise of snow,
And a beckoning road ‘twixt vale and hill,
           With the lure that all must know.

A light, my window’s gleam,
           Soft, flaring its squares of red—
I loose the ache of the wilderness
           And long for the fire instead.

You too know, old fellow?
           Then, lift your head and bark.
It’s just the call of the lonesome place,
           The winds and the housing dark.
 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York on June 12, 1892. She was an American novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, and visual artist, as well as an important figure in the Modernist movement. Her works include The Book of Repulsive Women (1915), Ladies Almanack (1928), and Nightwood (1937). Barnes died in New York City on June 18, 1982.

by this poet

poem

And now she walks on out turned feet
Beside the litter in the street
Or rolls beneath a dirty sheet
       Within the town.
She does not stir to doff her dress,
She does not kneel low to confess,
A little conscience, no distress
       And settles down.

Ah God! she settles

poem

Three paces down the shore, low sounds the lute,
The better that my longing you may know;
I’m not asking you to come,
But—can’t you go?

Three words, “I love you,” and the whole is said—
The greatness of it throbs from sun to sun;
I’m not asking you to walk,
But—can’t you run?

poem
The mortal fruit upon the bough
Hands above the nuptial bed.
The cat-bird in the tree returns
The forfeit of his mutual vow.

The hard, untimely apple of
The branch that feeds on watered rain,
Takes the place upon her lips
Of her late lamented love.

Many hands together press,
Shaped within a static prayer
Recall