City Dusk

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favourite writers of all time. His writing style is so beautiful and descriptive without being too heavy and watered-down, and the way he writes makes me emotional it’s so beautiful. The Great Gatsby is a book I hold dear to my heart, as it’s writing and story really captured my attention and imagination. When I found out he also wrote poetry, I was excited, and decided I had to use of these poems in my final project. I chose my favourite of his, City Dusk, published in the Nassau Literary Magazine, in April of 1918.

Come out…. out
To this inevitable night of mine
Oh you drinker of new wine,
Here’s pageantry…. Here’s carnival,
Rich dusk, dim streets and all
The whispering of city night….

I have closed my book of fading harmonies,
(The shadows fell across me in the park)
And my soul was sad with violins and trees,
And I was sick for dark,
When suddenly it hastened by me, bringing
Thousands of lights, a haunting breeze,
And a night of streets and singing….

I shall know you by your eager feet
And by your pale, pale hair;
I’ll whisper happy incoherent things
While I’m waiting for you there….

All the faces unforgettable in dusk
Will blend to yours,
And the footsteps like a thousand overtures,
Will blend to yours,
And there will be more drunkenness than wine,
In the softness of your eyes on mine….

Faint violins where lovely ladies dine,
The brushing of skirts, the voices of the night
And all the lure of friendly eyes…. Ah there,
We’ll drift like summer sounds upon the summer air….

In my interpretation, I see this poem as being about someone who has lost their way in life, and is possibly thinking about ending it all. The line “And I was sick for dark” implies that the poet is feeling empty and craves the darkness and release from life that death can give. And the line “I have closed my book of fading harmonies” implies that the poet has decided that it’s not worth keeping on trying to reach what he believes he can’t, which is love. However, on one night, everything changes, and he meets someone who reignites the spark that was his life, and he sees that he can have a future again.

I think, however, this poem could also be interpreted to be about someone who has had a lover pass away, or alternatively has passed away themselves. The use of past tense in lines like “And I was sick for dark” and “And my soul was sad with violins and trees” could imply that the writer of this poem has taken their life by suicide, and this poem is from the perspective of them remembering their lover. The title ‘City Dusk’ could also imply this, as if the poet is waiting in a purgatory, in the dusk of death, waiting for his lover to one day join him. “I’ll whisper happy incoherent things While I’m waiting for you there….”

Sources

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