Poetry Quotes: Night

A poet is an insomniac
and always writes best
by the light of a midnight candle.
~Terri Guillemets, “Flickering,” 2009

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does. ~Allen Ginsberg

An Everlasting Poem is the Night,
Gleaming incessant on the page of space:
Printing itself in letters all of gold:
Singing itself in measures, all of fire…
~George Gilfillan, “The Poets of Night,” Night: A Poem, 1867

Poetry staggers amongst stars, drunk on the night. ~Terri Guillemets

Mirrors seemed to have taken up a hell of a lot of time in his life. He thought of one now—the mirror in the bathroom, years ago, back home. When he was a kid—fourteen, fifteen—writing a poem every night before he went to sleep, starting and finishing it at one sitting even though it might be two or three o’clock, that bathroom mirror had come to mean more to him than his own bed. Nights when he had finished a poem, what could have been more natural, more necessary and urgent, than to go and look at himself to see if he had changed? Here at this desk, this night, one of life’s important moments had occurred. Humbly, almost unaware, certainly innocent, he had sat there and been the instrument by which a poem was transmitted to paper. ~Charles R. Jackson, The Lost Weekend, 1944

The night of Shakspere is a southern night,
With tipsy stars for candles burning out,
With elves and fairies footing it to song…
With lovers sitting on the moonlight banks…
With glowworms burning gaily ‘mid their woods,
With thrilling song of nightingale and lute…
And thus is Shakspere’s world a soft strong link,
Like some serene and isthmus seeming star,
Binding us to the galaxies of God…
~George Gilfillan, “The Poets of Night,” Night: A Poem, 1867

In the earlier years of his literary career he would frequently awake at night, get out of bed, light a candle, and compose many lines upon some poem which he said had “forced itself upon his mind.” ~William H. Hayne, “Paul H. Hayne’s Methods of Composition,” c. 1892 [a little altered –tg]

Poets rejoice in the light of dawn,
struggle with a heavy pen at noontide,
quip with dragons and fairies at teatime,
love and muse in the evening,
and flourish with midnight ink.
(Sleep? No. We could miss a poem.)
~Terri Guillemets, “Overclocked,” 2011

I yearn to
fall asleep to
the rose-scented
burning-pink smoke
and dreamy aromas
of soul-poetry,
so that I wake to
a poem-tinted dawn
and morning’s sweet fragrance
lays out my new day’s path
in flowers of purpose and joy.
~Terri Guillemets

Waking up at 2AM to vomit up poetry and then going back to sleep. ~Obel.xo, 2014

Who can sleep when all the words of the poem aren’t just exactly right?! ~Terri Guillemets, “Poeta insomnis,” 2014