Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


From the Long Sad Party

Someone was saying
something about shadows covering the field, about
how things pass, how one sleeps towards morning
and the morning goes.

Someone was saying
how the wind dies down but comes back,
how shells are the coffins of wind
but the weather continues.

It was a long night
and someone said something about the moon shedding its
   white
on the cold field, that there was nothing ahead
but more of the same.

Someone mentioned
a city she had been in before the war, a room with two
   candles
against a wall, someone dancing, someone watching.
We began to believe

the night would not end.
Someone was saying the music was over and no one had
   noticed.
Then someone said something about the planets, about the 
   stars,
how small they were, how far away.

Credit


From The Late Hour by Mark Strand, published by Atheneum. Copyright © 1973 by Mark Strand. Used with permission.

Author


Mark Strand

Mark Strand was born on Canada’s Prince Edward Island on April 11, 1934. He received a BA from Antioch College in Ohio in 1957 and attended Yale University, where he was awarded the Cook Prize and the Bergin Prize. After receiving his BFA degree in 1959, Strand spent a year studying at the University of Florence on a Fulbright fellowship. In 1962 he received his MA from the University of Iowa.

Strand was the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014); Almost Invisible (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012); New Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); Man and Camel (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006); Blizzard of One (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Dark Harbor (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993); The Continuous Life (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990); Selected Poems (Atheneum, 1980); The Story of Our Lives (Atheneum, 1973); and Reasons for Moving (Atheneum, 1968).

Strand also published two books of prose, several volumes of translation (of works by Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, among others), several monographs on contemporary artists, and three books for children. He has edited a number of volumes, including 100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century (W. W. Norton, 2005); The Golden Ecco Anthology (Ecco, 1994); The Best American Poetry 1991; and Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers, co-edited with Charles Simic (HarperCollins, 1976).

Strand’s honors included the Bollingen Prize, a Rockefeller Foundation award, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the 2004 Wallace Stevens Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in 1979, the 1974 Edgar Allen Poe Prize from the Academy of American Poets, as well as fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Strand served as poet laureate of the United States from 1990 to 1991 and as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1995 to 2000. He taught English and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York City.

Strand died at eighty years old on November 29, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Date Published: 1973-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/long-sad-party