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The Night Will Never Stay

The night will never stay,
The night will still go by,
Though with a million stars
You pin it to the sky,
Though you bind it with the blowing wind
And buckle it with the moon,
The night will slip away
Like sorrow or a tune.

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Eleanor Farjeon (1881 – 1965), English writer of biography, history, plays, hymns, poetry, satire; and of stories and poems specifically for children.

I had copied some poems, including this one, into a notebook when my daughter was small—but omitted noting the source . . . I suppose I should have known that we don’t have the volume at home (I’d not have copied the verse out if we had) but I searched anyway, with no luck either at home or in the local library branch’s collection.  Finally it was online, at PoemHunter, where I discovered that the poem appears in The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse (Iona Opie and Peter Opie, Editors; 1973), an annotated, thoughtfully-selected, chronologically-arranged anthology of poems for the young (or rather, “the mature of all ages, no matter how young”, in the editors’ words) spanning 500 years of verse in the English language. Poems by authors living at time of compilation are not included. Valuable resource for parents, has been reissued a couple of times, is available in paperback.

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And, speaking of nighttime, a bonus of poetic prose for you, if you’re interested . . . From a 2010 YA (“Young Adult”) novel, Chasing Orion, by Kathryn Lasky:

“Emmett always said that night reveals and light steals, that without darkness there is nothing.  Night is a dark chink in the long day; only through this crack can we see the light, the ancient light and the places where stars are born and die.  It is in the flow of the night that we discover who we are and that we are all of us made from the dust of stars.”

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