Carpe noctem

“Purple flowers, Settle.” Copyright © Peter Wilkin 2012.


Darkness falls like a purple flower unfolding,
while the shell of day breaks like glass,
to the sound of birds’ trill and timbre tones.
The shell-shard shrapnel glitter
like diamonds on African skin.

Know the stars, when and where they shine,
watch them move across boundless black,
catch a planet turn like a top on the ecliptic,
and see the silent slow motion symphony.
Listen earnestly, … to hear each thought note.

Drink the night in cups, by day,
not sweetened nor made murky with milk,
but black and acrid, bitter and fathomless,
where danger lurks in Cimmerian shade.

Behold the night in a … different … light,
until you see shimmer, the moist flanks
of a black stallion, galloping with intent;
merlot, coursing through its lavender veins.

Seize the hot iron reins with both hands,
forge by light of candles lit on all ends,
under a banquet of stars and silver moon.
Feast on the quiet hours that know no bound,
and burn Earth’s oil beyond the midnight hours.
Harvest the mind fields of passion’s flowers.

Don’t stop. While others sleep, toil on.
Sleep can wait, for in death, it is boundless.
Shape with hammer, upon anvil, with will.
There are no interruptions of mundane day.
Polish with patience “The Great Work”.

But the night is wild; like fire, like ocean.
Honour this mighty beast, give him deservèd respect,
and humbly learn the gentle art of whispering.
Once on its bare back and holding his mane, …
seize the night, carpe noctem, carpe noctem,
before the darkness of day seizes you.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012.
All rights reserved.

This poem is linked to dVersepoets for Open Link Night Week 46.

Special thanks go to Peter Wilkin for giving me kind permission to publish on this blog, my poem with his image “Purple flowers, Settle”, which I find intoxicatingly beautiful. Peter’s photography art exhibits the ethereal, the magical, the psychedelic, the metaphysical, and human perception. It is well worthwhile to pay his gallery a visit here.


31 thoughts on “Carpe noctem

  1. A truly beautiful poem, Quirina…and goes so well with Peter’s fantastic photo. There are so many images in your poem to love..”Drink the night in cups” …”Behold the night in a ….different light” ~ I could quote the whole poem back at you…Just delicious! Love it! 🙂 xx

  2. oh i love the purple clematis..and what a beautiful poem as well quirina..the night is wild; like fire, like ocean…drinking the night in cups..there’s much beauty and magic and also a bit danger in the night…and i like how you capture it…just wanted to go to bed but after reading this, i feel more like exploring the shadows and taste her on my tongue..

  3. Image and poem, both so intoxicating! I am transported.
    “Feast on the quiet hours.”
    “Sleep can wait, for in death, it is boundless”
    You and Peter take my breath away.

  4. Oh, this is so gorgeous. I love the graphic image and your interpretation is perfect. Right now our Clematis is in full bloom, looks like those in the picture. This inspires me to take a photo and perhaps see where it take me.

    • Thank you very much for your comment. If you like verse two, then I know you are a scientist. And with a name like Skyraftwanderer it is of course no surprise that you would like verse two. 🙂

  5. oh wow this is gorgeous writing….drink the night in cups…smiles….your exposition of the night is my fav part…it is when i come alive…smiles…delicious…

    • Thank you, Brian. I really appreciate your always thoughtful comments on my poems (and on others’ poems) … similes … It is nice to know that you carpe noctem. 🙂

  6. This is a beautiful poem. It is written in beauty, not ink. Your imagery is wonderful and you hail the night as something so magnificent and full of wonder for those who are truly willing to step into it. ‘Humbly learn the gentle art of whispering’ ~ this line dropped straight into my soul … I can still feel the ripples. Sincere thanks for wrapping your lovely poem around my photo, Quirina ~ also for linking this page to my gallery x

    • Thank you, Peter, for such a lovely compliment. If the ink was purple, would it be beautiful? It was a great pleasure to write around and into your photo … 🙂 xx

  7. WOW… this is just sublimely beautiful… I adore it all, but to pick one part:
    ‘Behold the night in a … different … light,
    until you see shimmer, the moist flanks
    of a black stallion, galloping with intent;
    merlot, coursing through its lavender veins.’

    Fantastic Q 🙂 x

  8. The imagery here is stunning. It’s very beautiful and well expressed. It was lovely to read. Thank you. Pam

    • Thank you, Tigerbrite. I had part of the poem already penned and when I saw this image of Peter’s, my poem was irreversibly metamorphosed by it, so indeed, the words were woven with the picture. 🙂

  9. This poem is exquisite. The first stanza hooked me in. And Peter’s work fits in so beautifully here. This piece, Q, is masterfullly written, and my favorite of yours, thus far. Beautiful work!

    • Thank you so much, Jackie, for your very kind comment. “Favourite” is such a nice word to hear. Peter’s photo takes one’s breath away … 🙂 xx

  10. Our brains do seem to move in parallel grooves… but your vision of night is much more hypnotic and sensual than mine. You are in love with the night, despite its dangers, you surrender yourself to its magic. And you convey that magic through your beautiful words. My poems seem very raw in comparison.

    • Oh, Marina, but poems cannot really be compared. In my poem I make reference to the dangers, which you really captured well in your poem, where I suppose in some way we both say in the last lines of our poems that we could be defeated by the night … that there might be, as you succinctly say, “no end in sight, no redeeming dawn, we balance, we teeter … and some of us fall.” And sometimes when we don’t master the night, it seizes us … 🙂

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