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Creative Writing Poetry: Night Hawks

Art Inspires Poetry


A Midnight Diner

A Midnight Diner by Edward Hopper
by David Ray (1970)

Your own greyhounds bark at your side.
It is you, dressed like a Siennese, 
Galloping, ripping the gown as the fabled 
White-skinned woman runs, seeking freedom. 
Tiny points of birches rise from hills, 
Spin like serrulate corkscrews toward the sky;
In other rooms it is your happiness
Flower petals fall for, your brocade
You rediscover, feel bloom upon your shoulder.  

And freedom's what the gallery's for. 
You roam in large rooms and choose your beauty. 
Yet, Madman, it's your own life you turn back to: 
In one postcard purchase you wipe out 
Centuries of light and smiles, golden skin 
And openness, forest babes and calves. 
You forsake the sparkler breast 
That makes the galaxies, you betray 
The women who dance upon the water, 
All for some bizarre hometown necessity!
Some ache still found within you! 
Now it will go with you, this scene 
By Edward Hopper and nothing else.
It will become your own tableau of sadness 
Composed of blue and grey already there.
Over or not, this suffering will not say Hosanna.
Now a music will not come out of it. 
Grey hat, blue suit, you are in a midnight 
Diner painted by Edward Hopper. 

Here is a man trapped at midnight underneath the El. 
He sought the smoothest counter in the world 
And found it here in the almost empty street, 
Away from everything he has ever said. 
Now he has the silence they've insisted on. 
Not a squirrel, not an autumn birch, 
Not a hound at his side, moves to help him now. 
His grief is what he'll try to hold in check. 
His thumb has found and held his coffee cup. 


Nighthawks by Edward Hopper


by Anne Carson

I wanted to run away with you tonight
but you are a difficult woman
the rules of you - 

Past and future circle round us
now we know more now less
in the institute of shadows.

On a street black as widows
with nothing to confess
our distances found us

the rules of you - 
so difficult a woman
I wanted to run away with you tonight.