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 (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.