Meeting at Night (Prompt and Poem by Robert Browning)

Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus by J.W.M. Turner

The British Romantic, poet and playwright, Robert Browning, had first wrote and  published, in 1845 his, poem, “Night and Day,” in his romantic collection of verse, Pomegranate and Bells; at the same time he began his courtship with lyricist, Elizabeth Browning (nee Barret). Later, this rhyme was again, published, in 1891, however, the verse had became two independent poems, “Meeting at Night,” and “Parting at Morning,” conveying dualistic sentiments of love.

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Browning’s lyrical speaker communicates a midnight sea voyage, describing the darkened landscape, as the white-golden moon hangs, like a tender breath upon the “gray waters,” and his subtle rowing over the, “fiery,” movement of the ocean waves. Browning begins with his oceanic exertion, deliberating a narrative of the brisk and tumultuous movement over sea and land, where rather quickly, the narrator appears at a farmhouse. The narrator, then, gently raps the glass of the window pane, where his beloved then appears with a golden lighted match.

Now, write a poem conveying the story of a lonely character, crossing over land, sea, or other natural habitats and places to reach a beloved individual. This piece could be a symbolic of an exertion of which an individual suffers many hardships to find love, a loved one, or join with their beloved. Note, the loved one could be a mother, a sister, a friend, anyone special to the narrator.

One thought on “Meeting at Night (Prompt and Poem by Robert Browning)

  1. Life Story

    A race to the finish line
    I would be the first
    For there was a prize at the end
    Sprinting toward a finish line
    That I could not yet see
    My body could run no longer
    So, I ran instead, you see
    Beautiful wonders of the world
    Were flying right past me
    My eyes are blurry from the wind
    But hindsight vision is perfect
    I might have slowed my pace a bit
    If I had known what was to come
    No matter
    I had to walk eventually
    My breath kept evading me
    This race is quite tiring
    Examining my surroundings I notice
    This forest is not pretty
    A strange feeling overtakes me
    How I wish I could start running
    But I am out of energy
    I cannot stop moving
    So I continue to walk through the darkness of the cluster
    Horrors keep me alert at all times
    I miss the place I was before
    Someone should come and take my hand
    Save me from this horrid land
    But there is no one in sight
    I keep moving
    At this point I’m on my hands and knees
    Save me please
    Is there no one else but me?
    I keep moving
    It feels as if I’ll never leave
    I want to give up
    I can no longer breathe
    I keep moving
    Until there, right up ahead
    There is..something
    I crawl forward at a snail’s pace
    I lift my body up; clinging to this cloth-wrapped item
    Undoing it’s binding
    I look to
    It’s a mirror
    I drop to my knees in frustration
    I thought the end of the race was near
    This mirror can not be the prize
    I traveled so far to find
    So I continue my trek through the unknown
    Looking for just the right thing
    But for some reason, every item I see
    Is my reflection in the mirror
    Staring back at me


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