I touch you in the night, whose gift was you,
My careless sprawler,
And I touch you cold, unstirring, star-bemused,
That have become the land of your self-strangeness.
What long seduction of the bone has led you
Down the imploring roads I cannot take
Into the arms of ghosts I never knew,
Leaving my manhood on a rumpled field
To guard you where you lie so deep
In absent-mindedness,
Caught in the calcium snows of sleep?

And even should I track you to your birth
Through all the cities of your mortal trial,
As in my jealous thought I try to do,
You would escape me–from the brink of earth
Take off to where the lawless auroras run,
You with your wild and metaphysic heart.
My touch is on you, who are light-years gone.
We are not souls but systems, and we move
In clouds of our unknowing
like great nebulae.
Our very motives swirl and have their start
With father lion and with mother crab.
Dreamer, my own lost rib,
Whose planetary dust is blowing
Past archipelagoes of myth and light
What far Magellans are you mistress of
To whom you speed the pleasure of your art?
As through a glass that magnifies my loss
I see the lines of your spectrum shifting red,
The universe expanding, thinning out,
Our worlds flying, oh flying, fast apart.

From hooded powers and from abstract flight
I summon you, your person and your pride.
Fall to me now from outer space,
Still fastened desperately to my side;
Through gulfs of streaming air
Bring me the mornings of the milky ways
Down to my threshold in your drowsy eyes;
And by the virtue of your honeyed word
Restore the liquid language of the moon,
That in gold mines of secrecy you delve.
My whirling hands stay at the noon,
Each cell within my body holds a heart
And all my hearts in unison strike twelve.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stanley Kunitz's poem The Science Of The Night


  1. Peter says:

    The Abduction
    When a Halley’s Comet was Passing Through
    The Layers after the Last Dynasty
    At that End of Summer, Father and Son
    The Dark and the Fair
    Sitting in the Long Boat in the King of the River
    Quarreling over the Science of the Night
    At that night, the Portrait of Hornworm:
    Autumn Lamentation was the Single Vision
    The Round Trip of the Long Boat came to where
    The two Snakes of the September
    Dangling head-down, entwined in a brazen love-knot
    In the Testing-tree
    Believe it or not
    They were the Master and Mistress
    Seeing that, An Old Cracked Tune rose
    Between the Father and Son

  2. Billy Bob says:

    This poem rocks If every poem was like this the world would be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Go Bears!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Cristina Banuelos says:

    I think this poem is rellay good and that every one should read poetry because it good way of expressing out your feelings.So that is what I technically think. Have a nice day.

  4. Judy Robinson says:

    This is a poem by a man who so deeply loves another that he feels a sense of loss when she slips away from him, into sleep. She enters realms of otherness, other existences, apart from him. He cannot be where she goes when she sleeps, any more than he can go back in time to know her before they came together. He waits for her return, knowing he cannot have her as completely as he wants; it is this separateness that he is aaddressing.

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