Robert Graves




Full Moon

As I walked out that sultry night,
      I heard the stroke of One.
The moon, attained to her full height,
      Stood beaming like the Sun:
She exorcised the ghostly wheat
To mute assent in love's defeat,
      Whose tryst had now begun.

The fields lay sick beneath my tread,
      A tedious owlet cried,
A nightingale above my head
      With this or that replied —
Like man and wife who nightly keep
Inconsequent debate in sleep
      As they dream side by side.

Your phantom wore the moon's cold mask,
      My phantom wore the same;
Forgetful of the feverish task
      In hope of which they came,
Each image held the other's eyes
And watched a grey distraction rise
      To cloud the eager flame —

To cloud the eager flame of love,
      The fog the shining gate;
They held the tyrannous queen above
      Sole mover of their fate,
They glared as marble statues glare
Across the tessellated stair
      Or down the halls of state.

And now warm earth was Arctic sea,
      Each breath came dagger-keen;
Two bergs of glinting ice were we,
      The broad moon sailed between;
There swam the mermaids, tailed and finned,
And Love went by upon the wind
      As though it had not been.