Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AS TO MOONLIGHT, by WITTER BYNNER

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AS TO MOONLIGHT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: You tell me that when moonlight is in flood
Last Line: Whetted with sunlight like a rim of sea.
Alternate Author Name(s): Morgan, Emanuel
Subject(s): Moon

You tell me that when moonlight is in flood,
Its wonder widening heaven and earth, your blood
Renews allegiance to your native star,
And you would live forever as you are,
The lord and master of a thousand dreams
Of silver shadow tender with untruth,
You say that then you half believe your youth,
You say that from the man you have to be
There is no other saving alchemy.

Enjoy your moon and welcome. Long ago
I watched it, as a child, and tried to know
Why it was chilling me, as though a snake
Had conquered heaven, as though no will could break
Its numbing gaze, its fatal manifold
Encirclement. My very core was cold,
As though a fang had sweetened all the air
With fine ethereal venom of despair,
But in the morning I could breath again.

And now, on hearing you and other men
Declare that this world also shall be dead,
Cold as the moon we have inherited,
I kindle, knowing that no element
Of death shines in the night. Valleys have spent
Their vigor and are icy in the moon
As mountain-peaks are here. And yet the noon
Is what I see, my friend, a dream of the sun,
And I touch its golden pulses one by one,
In this imagination, this cold shape,
This ghost that gives you delicate escape,
Here in ambiguous shadows of the night,
From the whole sweet body of approaching light.

Choose, then, your moon. Tomorrow I shall be
Whetted with sunlight like a rim of sea.

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