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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

And th’Americasincline

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.

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