It had been long dark, though still an hour before supper-time by Charles Reznikoff | Poets.org

  • Mon Dec 16th, 2013 2:55am
  • Life

It had been long dark, though still an hour before supper-time

by Charles Reznikoff

It had been long dark, though still an hour before supper-time.

The boy stood at the window behind the curtain.

The street under the black sky was bluish white with snow.

Across the street, where the lot sloped to the pavement,

boys and girls were going down on sleds.

The boys were after him because he was a Jew.

 

At last his father and mother slept. He got up and dressed.

In the hall he took out his sled and went out on tiptoe.

No one was in the street. The slide was worn smooth and

slippery–just right.

He laid himself down on his sled and shot away. He went down

only twice.

He stood knee-deep in snow:

no one was in the street, the windows were darkened;

those near the street-lamps were ashine, but the rooms inside

were dark;

on the street were long shadows of clods of snow.

He took his sled and went back into the house.

 

About This Poem

Throughout the 1930s, Reznikoff gained recognition as one of the principal proponents of Objectivism, along with Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, and Carl Rakosi. The group of poets established the Objectivist Press, which published three of Reznikoff’s books. While his work received little commercial success, he continued to self-publish it.

On August 31, 1894, Charles Reznikoff was born in Brooklyn, New York. His parents, Russian Jewish immigrants, had fled the pogroms that followed the assassination of Alexander II.

Reznikoff’s first book of poetry,Rhythms, was privately published in 1918. He took a series of writing and editing jobs to support himself, working on the editorial staffs of the American Law Book Company and, beginning in 1955, the Jewish Frontier. Reznikoff’s books of poetry include Holocaust(1975) and Testimony (1965), which are his most celebrated works. He died on January 22, 1976, in New York City.