Now for the day and night themselves,
Great are the day and night;
O day and night, passage to you!
Ever the upward and downward sun, the curious rapid silent change of the light and shade,
Alternate ebb and flow the days and nights.
Embracing man, embracing all, proceed the three hundred and sixty-five resistlessly round the sun—
Day full-blown and splendid, day of the immense sun, action, ambition, laughter;
Embracing all, soothing, supporting, follow close three hundred and sixty-five offsets of the first, sure and necessary as they—
The night with millions of suns, and sleep and restoring darkness.
Seen at hand or seen at a distance,
Duly the twenty-four appear in public every day,
Duly approach and pass with their companions or a companion,
Looking from no countenances of their own, but from the countenances of those who are with them,
From the countenances of children or women or the manly countenance,
From the open countenances of animals or from inanimate things,
From our countenances, mine and yours, faithfully returning them—
The day and the night are for you and me and all.
The morning has its words and the evening has its words.
How much there is in the word light!
How vast, surrounding, falling, sleepy, noiseless, is the word night!
It hugs with unfelt yet living arms.
Sounds of the day and night,
Warblings under the sun, usher’d as now, or at noon, or setting—
The mocking-bird of the wilds, singing all the forenoon, singing through the moon-lit night,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on their nests.
There is a scent to everything, even the snow, if you can only detect it—
No two places, any two hours, anywhere, exactly alike,
How different the odor of noon from midnight,
The scent around lanes mornings and evenings.
These are the thoughts that have come to me,
Some have come by night, and some by day,
The day and night do not fail,
Every hour of the common day and night has given me copious pictures.
Who shall write, who tell, who paint, the lessons of one mere day and night?
All the dazzling days, all the mystic nights with dreams—
If I were younger and well, I should lay out a poem, a whole book about them.
Day come white, or night come black,
I shall venerate hours and days and think them immeasurable hereafter,
Celebrate the beauty of day, with all its splendor,
Then night with its beauty—(rather leaning to the celebration of the superiority of the night.)
I will confront these shows of the day and night,
Attitude adjusted to the sun by day and the stars by night,
Absorbing the days and nights all I can.
I will know if I am to be less than they,
I will see if I am not as majestic as they,
I will see if I am not as subtle and real as they,
I will see if I am to be less generous than they.