I Signed the Night Once | Teen Ink

I Signed the Night Once MAG

April 6, 2011
By Jesse914 BRONZE, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Jesse914 BRONZE, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

I signed the night once,
In a park, with a stick from the campfire;
It was easier than I thought it would be,
Just a little scribble and my signature was burned into the dark.
Like it was a work of art, I thought.

Then my imagination spun into whorls and vortexes of wild fantasy –
If I had signed the night, did that make it my work of art?
Had I dreamt up the idea of darkness and painted over the sun with my finger?
Had I conjured the moon in my mind and tossed her up to land where she hung
Glowing, now?
Was each star a tear, fallen up when I decided to reverse gravity, just for my design?
The whispering of the night breeze is the whispering of my breath when I am asleep
The animals that cry out to the black – they are my murmuring thoughts, unable to sleep and mourning the day when they have a reason to run and fly,
Even when I cast them out into the world they keep me awake, moaning at my moon.

A dark owl, wisdom and ageless serenity, hoots above my head – oh, my beloved creation!
She spreads her great wing span and beats the thick air.
Hush-wing, and she is gone, swallowed by my darkness

I hear a rustle, and paint in a little mouse, crunching a dead leaf under tiny pink feet
He is fidgeting, and I color in his story –
Frightened mouse, lost, waiting for the sun to return and light his way home!
But, I tell him cheerfully, things will be alright, don't worry.
This is my night, and I won't let anything happen to you.
In my night, mice are as invincible as dragons, fierce and fiery and bold!
He believes me, and I see my mouse venture out of his hiding place to see me, and thank me, perhaps.
I smile graciously, and he pauses, watching me flickering in the firelight.
How like a god I must seem to him, so great and powerful and generous.

A rushing through my night and a squeak –
A deeper darkness than the one I designed descends on my invincible mouse and silences his rustling forever.

Hubris points its finger at me and scoffs, cackling at me, at the joke.
My night is torn from my control and a sharp, chilled wind snaps my hair across my face, as if to slap me back into reality.
Awaken, you fool. How could you be master of the night? You should be sleeping.
Abandon the grander aspirations, and only ever dream of claiming the world
For such things as night can be claimed by no one.

The author's comments:
A family friend brought his fancy camera on a camping trip, and took several long exposure pictures as I literally wrote in the air with a burning stick. The developed pictures inspired the beginning of this poem, and then it evolved as I continued writing. I hope readers can take away a sense of respect and humility for things that are really beyond our comprehension, and also an appreciation of learning; everything that happens is important. Pay attention.

Similar Articles


This article has 10 comments.

robertram said...
on Jun. 28 2011 at 8:42 pm
love it, new favorite poem, cool idea!

donjuan007 said...
on Jun. 25 2011 at 8:44 pm

This is great, you paint a picture with language that is crystal clear and very beautiful. i love this poem


kerrcrib said...
on Jun. 18 2011 at 5:09 am
What beautiful imagery - you are such a  talented writer!

Jamie.Chap said...
on Jun. 17 2011 at 9:51 pm
p.s. why are you soo awesome?

sirsam117 said...
on Jun. 17 2011 at 3:42 pm
You are a seriously gifted poet, woman. I love this; want my number??  keep writing, baby

jonnocoolcat said...
on Jun. 17 2011 at 3:36 pm
This is awesome, you're bloody brilliant. More please. I love you, little girl

on Jun. 17 2011 at 2:54 pm
Jesse914 BRONZE, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments
thanks, girl!:-)

agray94 said...
on Jun. 16 2011 at 10:11 pm
you are wonderful :) I truly love this poem!

Jamie.Chap said...
on Jun. 16 2011 at 7:27 pm
This is so amazing and even better the second time! Love you so much chickie!!!!!!!!!!!!

jbawake said...
on Jun. 16 2011 at 6:41 pm
Love it! So evocative of the wild beauty of imagination. Great images through your words, thank you!