A night that cuts between you and you
and you and you and you
and me : jostles us apart, a man elbowing
through a crowd. We won’t
look for each other, either-
wander off, each alone, not looking
in the slow crowd. Among sideshows
under movie signs,
pictures made of a million lights,
giants that move and again move
again, above a cloud of thick smells,
franks, roasted nutmeats-

Or going up to some apartment, yours
or yours, finding
someone sitting in the dark:
who is it really? So you switch the
light on to see: you know the name but
who is it ?
But you won’t see.

The fluorescent light flickers sullenly, a
pause. But you command. It grabs
each face and holds it up
by the hair for you, mask after mask.
You and you and I repeat
gestures that make do when speech
has failed and talk
and talk, laughing, saying
‘I’, and ‘I’,
meaning ‘Anybody’.
No one.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Denise Levertov's poem People at Night


  1. li jiana says:

    it seems to me that poem says the split between reason and emotion,night makes me see something emotional i don’t like to see, night is mad and emotional i is lost at night.

  2. joey says:

    this is a really good poem i liked it alot

  3. karessa says:

    This poem is very interesting. It shows the unsure feelings that we have in our minds. I thought that it was very well portrayed throught the situations that occured in the poem.

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