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The School of Night

The School of Night - Alec Derwent Hope

 What did I study in your School of Night? 
When your mouth's first unfathomable yes 
Opened your body to be my book, I read 
My answers there and learned the spell aright, 
Yet, though I searched and searched, could never guess 
What spirits it raised nor where their questions led. 

Those others, familiar tenants of your sleep, 
The whisperers, the grave somnambulists 
Whose eyes turn in to scrutinize their woe, 
The giant who broods above the nightmare steep, 
That sleeping girl, shuddering, with clenched fists, 
A vampire baby suckling at her toe, 

They taught me most. The scholar held his pen 
And watched his blood drip thickly on the page 
To form a text in unknown characters 
Which, as I scanned them, changed and changed again: 
The lines grew bars, the bars a Delphic cage 
And I the captive of his magic verse.