Archibald MacLeish

(7 May 1892 – 20 April 1982 / Glencoe, Illinois)

Nocturne - Poem by Archibald MacLeish

The earth, still heavy and warm with afternoon,
Dazed by the moon:

The earth, tormented with the moon’s light,
Wandering in the night:

La, La, The moon is a lovely thing to see—
The moon is an agony.

Full moon, moon rise, the old old pain
Of brightness in dilated eyes,

The ache of still
Elbows leaning on the narrow sill,

Of motionless cold hands upon the wet
Marble of the parapet,

Of open eyelids of a child behind
The crooked glimmer of the windown blind,

Of sliding faint remindful squares
Across the lamplight on the rocking-chairs:

Why do we stand so late
Stiff fingers on the moonlit gate?

Why do we stand
To watch so long the fall of moonlight on the sand?

What is it we cannot recall?

Tormented by the moon’s light
The earth turns maundering through the night.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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