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Poem by William Ernest Henley


Nocturn


At the barren heart of midnight,
When the shadow shuts and opens
As the loud flames pulse and flutter,
I can hear a cistern leaking.

Dripping, dropping, in a rhythm,
Rough, unequal, half-melodious,
Like the measures aped from nature
In the infancy of music;

Like the buzzing of an insect,
Still, irrational, persistent . . .
I must listen, listen, listen
In a passion of attention;

Till it taps upon my heartstrings,
And my very life goes dripping,
Dropping, dripping, drip-drip-dropping,
In the drip-drop of the cistern. 



William Ernest Henley


William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. A Wink from Hesper
  2. In Rotten Row
  3. The Ways of Death Are Soothing and Serene
  4. London Types: Bus Driver
  5. Before


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Francis Thompson Nocturn ("I walk, I only")

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