At night

                                           At night
candle-flamed dreams tossed,
like pebbles by spring tides:
climbing the beach, they

                                           and fight –
realities drowned,
like the wind, by clashing
contradictions, dark

                                           which bite,
until forced to flee;
wide-eyed sun exposing
smooth white sands, ready
for dawn.


I’ve had a few long nights recently, and this brought to mind one of my favourite poems from more than 20 years ago, by Louis MacNeice: London Rain. It’s one of the few poems I know by memory (at least the first few verses):

The rain of London pimples
The ebony street with white
And the neon-lamps of London
Stain the canals of night
And the park becomes a jungle
In the alchemy of night.

My wishes turn to violent
Horses black as coal –
The randy mares of fancy,
The stallions of the soul –
Eager to take the fences
That fence about my soul.


My wishes now come homeward,
Their gallopings in vain,
Logic and lust are quiet
And again it starts to rain;
Falling asleep I listen
To the falling London rain.

I have skipped nine verses here, but hopefully you get the idea. I think the first verse in particular is fantastic.  This poem is the inspiration for my much less rhythmic attempt at the same topic.