MN Poetry: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “We Leave Tonight…”

Although not known as a poet, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote poetry all his life, mostly in the form of song lyrics or rhyming banter. Here’s a poem from his collection “Poems 1911 – 1940” which was published posthumously. “We Leave To-night…” also appears in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry.

We Leave To-Night…

We leave to-night…

Silent, we filled the still, deserted street,

A column of dim gray,

And ghosts rose startled at the muffled beat

Along the moonless way;

The shadowy shipyards echoed to the feet

That turned from night and day.

And so we linger on the windless decks,

See on the spectre shore

Shades of a thousand days, poor gray-ribbed wrecks…

Oh, shall we then deplore

Those futile years!

See how the sea is white!

The clouds have broken and the heavens burn

To hollow highways, paved with gravelled light

The churning of the waves about the stern

Rises to one voluminous nocturne,

We leave to-night.

– “We Leave To-night…” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as it appears in Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry published by MHS Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.

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