NOCTURNE

By Luis G. Dato

Night comes, a spirit through my being steals,
And bids my eyes, tired eyes in sleep to close,
And to the bidding, now my soul that feels
No sense of quiet, quietens in repose.

Stay longer, sprite of night, and ever fill
With your cool presence this my life distraught,
Come, laden with breath of brooding calm,
And with the dew from dale and hill,

Like some wild charmer from the realms untaught,
With weird ablution bring my sorrow balm.

The night! In the rude clamours and alarms
Of cities cursed with greed for pride and power,
How oft to throw myself into her arms,
Myself but for the magic of an hour

With her, have I her hallowed haunts sought long;
How often, in the clutches of despair,
When faith in me is reft and wavering
Have I her woodlands strayed among,

That I perhaps might breathe from her pure air,
New love for life, and my despondence fling.

What do I find in her? Pale streams of cloud,
Where by the lucent stars the wan moon sails,
Hushed stillness and the dim, surrounding shroud
Of shadows, while in slumber lie the vales;

Cool wisps of incense, odorous, balsam breath,
The drowsy nod of myriad evening flowers,
Soft blades of grass, white threads of evening dew,
Death calling, deep, dark-lidded death,

Peeping from out his pallid, princely towers,
Death and the night, and you, beloved, you.
For, set in some savannah of the fair,
In some ethereal seat to eyes unseen,

Where sombre death holds majesty, and where
Abide the souls that from the earth have been,
Garlands too frail to be of earth too long,
Too frail, alas, for stinging, stabbing briers,

Tendrils you wreathe from flowers and leaves,
Plucked when the angels drunk with song,
Lulled in their sleep beside their dreaming lyres.
Night goes, and swiftly by the reddening hills,

A shaft of sunrise now the shadows tears,
Triumphant soars the maya, and loud trills
Some music caught from dreamland unawares,
Some strange, symphonious rhythm caught and heard,

When tumult and the world were calling from afar,
Some echo of your hoping, hopeful word,
Which in the darkness and my dreaming deep,
You told in whispers heard by moon and star.

Night fades, and like a dreamed-of anthem dies,
Upon the stirring of a dawn new blown,
Night onward to its western haven flies,
While everywhere the roses from her lap are strewn;

Globbed gems of light now glisten on the fair
And throbbing breasts of newly wakened morn,
The dusky raiments now the sunbeams tear,
And like some startled woodland grace,

By day surprised, night loosens her forlorn
Embrace o’er earth, and leaves the heavens bare.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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