Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Night Vision -- Suzanne Vega

(Poem #885) Night Vision
 By day give thanks, by night beware
 Half the world in sweetness, the other in fear

 When the darkness takes you, with her hand across your face
 Don't give in too quickly, find the things she's erased

   Find the line, find the shape through the grain
   Find the outline and things will tell you their name

 The table, the guitar, the empty glass
 All will blend together when the daylight has passed

   Find the line, find the shape through the grain
   Find the outline and things will tell you their name

 Now I watch you falling into sleep
 Watch your fist uncurl against the sheet
 Watch your lips fall open and your eyes dim
 In blind faith

 I would shelter you
 And keep you in light
 But I can only teach you
 Night vision
 Night vision
 Night vision
-- Suzanne Vega
I like everyday poems. Of course, I also like love poems, and war poems,
metaphysicals and the Movement, irreverent flights of whimsy and dense
conglomerations of weighty syllables. But there's a special place in my
affections for poems that celebrate the simple, the ordinary, the casual -
and which do so in such a manner as to offer a new way of seeing them.

Today's poem is one such. Who hasn't reflected on the way things look after
the lights have been turned out? The strange shapes furniture and fabric
take, the patterns of moonlight and shadow rippling across walls and floor,
the reflected images in mirrors, the silhouettes of lamps and bookshelves
and chairs and vases... at night, reality itself seems to 'suffer a
sea-change / into something rich and strange' [1].

And Vega captures this. "Night vision" is a song [2] that combines the magic
of darkness with the tenderness and poetry of love, and it's wonderfully,
wonderfully done.


[1] Shakespeare, "The Tempest". See poem #16
[2] It's on her utterly brilliant (and surprisingly little known) second
album, "Solitude Standing", released in 1987.

25 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Langmaid Nick said...

I found these lyrics very interesting, so I dug a little deeper.

The words are a loose translation of a work called "Juan Gris" by French
poet Paul Eluard.

Juan Gris was a Spanish cubist painter who lived and worked in Paris in the
early part of the twentieth century.

"Find the line, find the shape through the grain
Find the outline and things will tell you their name"

It's a nice commentary on the cubist style. These lines aren't in Eluard's
poem (unless my French is much worse than I think it is!) so Suzanne has
added them, closing the loop. Very tidy.


Australia Post is committed to providing our customers with ex or visit our website


G & J Waters said...

I was listening to this song tonight, and I love it as a poem. For me,
it's also about our fear of the dark, and what parents (and anyone who
loves someone, I suppose) want for their child (or beloved) - to keep
them in light. But in this world this is not possible, so we try to
teach "night vision" -- how to make it through the "dark night of the
soul," when fear grips us and we feel as if we can't continue, how the
recognition of the familiar grounds us.

lowongan kerja said...

I get a lot of referrals from this site.
I also wrote in a blog: lowongan kerja 2013, lowongan kerja terbaru and info lowongan kerja.

Space Matters Real Estates said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad
Plots for sale in Banjara Hills
Plots for sale in Jubilee Hills
Plots for sale in Manikonda
Plots for sale in Madhapur
Plots for sale in kondapur
Plots for sale in Gachibowli
Plots for sale in Kukatpally

William Smith said...

Really nice Service and best article in this blog. WOODEN AND METAL GATES FOR HOME | Home Metal Gates |

Program Studi Ilmu Administrasi Negara said...

Nice , I Read this article is greate and nice blog , Wellcome to this admin blog's .. by. Cipto junaedy

Obat Herbal said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Post a Comment