At night, when darkness comes to claim its due,
My shadow slips its bonds and disappears.
The call of freedom each night rings anew,
A-thrill with hopes and fears.
The night can promise all things to a shade
That chafes each day at sunlight’s harsh restraint.
A world awaits that of itself is made,
Excused from light’s complaint.
Within the black my shadow reaches out,
It stretches, tumbles, turns and spreads its wings,
Beyond its normal limits casts about,
And darkly tries to sing.
No answer echoes back from out the dark,
Though other truant shadows gather there.
Their own exploring forms have left no mark,
No sound to move the air.
Alarmed, my shadow looks with some dismay
For its own self that to the night had rushed —
A missing nothingness of blackest gray,
A straining voice now hushed,
Is all that’s left of what it once had felt
To be a prison — ah, but now it sees
That to the altar of the dark it knelt,
And by the night was seized.
And so with longing heart and tempered pride,
My shadow, holding hope throughout the night,
By dawn resumes its place with me beside,
And welcomed home, admits it missed the light.