• Vahni Capildeo and Karen Mow

On Vahni Capildeo, Give Me More Time, said Night

Vahni Capildeo was new to me, and when I looked at this poem I thought, that is incredibly beautiful; but I do not understand it. I think I do now. It is a wonderful sculptured work that sets up a nice dynamic, an argument about power, about who shall have more time: the night or the day. Why should night have more time? (This is not the poem; this is me.) Because the night sky is magical, glimmering light; light from suns old and far, suns that together emit more light than our daytime sun. We receive less light from this compendium, but far more mystery. So does the night need more time?

Karen Mow



Give Me More Time, said Night


. . but you’re setting me to teach
how suns build up into compendiums:
one to the power of zero?

Given I hold more light,
give me more time, said night;
you will not miss day.
Time enough — so much must reach
you, summing, bright as ever:
each slowly travelling star
blink-like, desperate.
Look! No day’s my comparate.
This needs time: that goes far:
wait, a whole work, like heaven.

And radiant intersections give up sight.

Drop day.

Admit I hold more light.

Vahni Capildeo


(From: Dark & Unaccustomed Words (2012) [2008] )