by David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)
The shorn moon trembling indistinct on her path, Frail as a scar upon the pale blue sky, Draws towards the downward slope: some sorrow hath Worn her down to the quick, so she faintly fares Along her foot-searched way without knowing why She creeps persistent down the sky's long stairs. Some day they see, though I have never seen, The dead moon heaped within the new moon's arms For surely the fragile, fine young thing had been Too heavily burdened to mount the heavens so. But my dear heart stands still, as a new, strong dread alarms Me; might a young girl be heaped with such shadow of woe? Since Death from the mother moon has pared us down to the quick, And cast us forth like shorn, thin moons, to travel An uncharted way among the myriad thick Strewn stars of silent people, and luminous litter Of lives which sorrows like mischievous dark mice chavel To nought, diminishing each star's glitter. Since Death has delivered us, utterly naked and white, Since the month of childhood is over, and we stand alone, Since the beloved, faded moon that set us alight Is delivered from us and pays no heed though we moan In sorrow, since we stand in bewilderment, strange And fearful to sally forth down the sky's long range. We may not cry to her still to sustain us here, We may not hold her shadow back from the dark. Oh, let us here forget, let us take the sheer Unknown that lies before us, bearing the ark Of the covenant onwards where she cannot go. Let us rise and leave her now, she will never know.