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A Night with a Wolf
by
Bayard Taylor


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Little one come to my knee!
   Hark how the rain is pouring
Over the roof in the pitch dark night,
   And the winds in the woods a-roaring.
 

Hush, my darling, and listen,
   Then pay for the story with kisses;
Father was lost in the pitch-black night
   In just such a storm as this is.
 

High on the lonely mountain
   Where the wild men watched and waited;
Wolves in the forest, and bears in the bush,
  And I on my path belated.


The rain and the night together
   Came down, and the wind came after,
Bending the props of the pine tree roof
   And snapping many a rafter.
 

I crept along in the darkness,
   Stunned and bruised and blinded . . . 
Crept to a fir with thick-set boughs,
   And a sheltering rock behind it.
 

There, from the blowing and raining,
   Crouching I sought to hide me;
Something rustled, two green eyes shone,
   And a wolf lay down beside me.
 

Little one, be not frightened;
   I and the wolf together,
Side by side through the long, long night,
   Hid from the awful weather.
 

His wet fur pressed against me;
   Each of us warmed the other;
Each of us felt in the stormy dark
   That beast and man were brother.


And when the falling forest
   No longer crashed in warning,
Each of us went from our hiding place
   Forth in the wild wet morning.


Darling, kiss me in payment . . .  
   Hark! how the wind is roaring!
Father's house is a better place
   When the stormy rain is pouring. 


This poem is in the public domain.

 

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Bayard Taylor (1825 –1878) was an American writer whose work included novels, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, travel writing, translations, and short stories. Born in Pennsylvania to Quaker farmers, Bayard traveled extensively throughout his life, spending long periods of time in Europe, the Orient, and the Middle East; his books chronicling his travels were extremely popular, as were the lectures Bayard gave when he returned to America. While he is best known among critics for his translation of Goethe’s Faust, Bayard’s poems and novels brought him much acclaim from the public during his lifetime. His home, Cedarcroft, is preserved as a national historical landmark.


Post New Comment:
pam davies:
my father used to recite this poem to his children on dark winter nights it brings back wonderful memories
Posted 07/05/2013 09:52 AM
loisflmom:
A beautiful poem. So nice to read one in rhyming verse--- those are the ones we memorize and can remember years later
Posted 01/02/2012 01:38 PM
MLove:
Father's house is a better place when the stormy rain is pouring. What a great line full of meaning.
Posted 01/02/2012 10:59 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
I agree. This is a lovely, touching story. Perhaps this is how man and dog first became united in prehistory.
Posted 01/02/2012 09:23 AM
jamster:
what imagery! and what a beautiful story!
Posted 01/02/2012 01:23 AM


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