Now Through Night’s Caressing Grip
W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood (from The Dog Beneath the Skin)
Now through night’s caressing grip
Earth and all her oceans slip,
Capes of China slide away
From her fingers into day
Coasts towards her shadow line.
Now the ragged vagrants creep
Into crooked holes to sleep:
Just and unjust, worst and best,
Change their places as they rest:
Awkward lovers lie in fields
Where disdainful beauty yields:
While the splendid and the proud
Naked stand before the crowd
And the losing gambler gains
And the beggar entertains:
May sleep’s healing power extend
Through these hours to our friend.
Unpursued by hostile force,
Traction engine, bull or horse
Or revolting succubus;
Calmly till the morning break
Let him lie, then gently wake.