All night I wrestled with a memory

Which knocked insurgent at the gates of thought.

The crumbled wreck of years behind has wrought

Its disillusion; now I only cry

For peace, for power to forget the lie

Which hope too long has whispered. So I sought

The sleep which would not come, and night was fraught

With old emotions weeping silently.

I heard your voice again, and knew the things

Which you had promised proved an empty vaunt.

I felt your clinging hands while night’s broad wings

Cherished our love in darkness. From the lawn

A sudden, quivering birdnote, like a taunt.

My arms held nothing but the empty dawn.

Amy Lowell


Amy Lowell (1874–1925) was an American poet born into one of Boston’s wealthiest and most socially prominent families. Her brother Percival became a famous astronomer and another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, became president of Harvard University. She was a lesbian with a penchant for smoking cigars and reputed to have been a lover of the actress Ada Dweyer Russell. As a poet she came under the influence of Ezra Pound and through that influence became a modernist and, more particularly, an “imagist” poet, abandoning the writing of more conventional poetry. In the final year of her life she published a biography of the poet John Keats. Two years after her death she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her final collection
What’s O’Clock. “Crépuscule du Matin” is from a sequence of sonnets in her collection A Dome of Many-Colored Glass.

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