What is "Night Sounds" all about?


Carolyn Kizer

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To portray the loneliness of failed love, the poem fuses images of the nightscape with the speaker’s feelings. The central images are visual and auditory. The moonlight is cold, disturbing, and a “map of personal desolation.” The night sounds (lines 2–6: “voices,” “weeping,” “love-cries”) stress the speaker’s isolation. She alters the “history” of the relationship (lines 10–17), seeking comfort in the lover’s restlessness and abstraction, but the attempt fails despite the memory of joyous early love (lines 18–19). The speaker is left with the sounds of other “distant voices” and “a dog’s hollow cadence.”

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