This is a dear poem, the of the kind best read at the setting of day, or in memory of an ending event. Following it’s title, The Day Is Done, the poem captures the emotion of something ending, whether you are considering the ending of day or other events.
The Day is Done
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
This poem speaks to both the tired heart and mind. Longfellow pulls out a striking image familiar to anyone of a reflective of introverted disposition: The weary soul looking through the darkness and mist at the twinkling village, filled with an odd sort of longing. Rare is the person who has not experienced a similar feeling in life.
It reminds oneself of an actor watching the end of his play, or a farmer harvesting his last crop. The immediate feeling is relief, but to the reflective, it is quickly followed by a heaviness of heart. The heaviness that comes with the end of something. The memories of the victories won and the struggles survived that rush to the heart.
The solution of Longfellow’s subject should not be too surprising, turning to poetry. But not any poetry will do, only that which is simple and lighthearted. He does not wish to push his reflections further, avoiding delving deeper into the feeling of heaviness, rather he seeks joy in the pleasant turning of a phrase.
Everyone has something that they turn to for comfort, be it reading, watching television, or poetry. It is a method of unwinding at the end of a days work, finding a manner of relaxation to ease the anxieties of life that overstay their welcome. It is worth noting however, that poetry, when read aloud, is far more powerful than any other means. Somehow, through the rhyme of the poet and the rhythm of the words, it is easy to get lost in the beauty of the spoken word.