A LOVE STORY
The full moon easterly rising, furious,
Against a winter sky ragged with red;
The hedges high in snow, and owls raving--
Solemnities not easy to withstand:
A shiver wakes the spine.
In boyhood, having encountered the scene,
I suffered horror: I fetched the moon home,
With owls and snow, to nurse in my head
Throughout the trials of a new Spring,
But fell in love, and made a lodgement
Of love on those chill ramparts.
Her image was my ensign: snows melted,
Hedges sprouted, the moon tenderly shone,
The owls trilled with tongues of nightingale.
These were all lies, though they matched the time,
And brought me less than luck: her image
Warped in the weather, turned beldamish.
Then back came winter on me at a bound,
The pallid sky heaved with a moon-quake.
Dangerous it had been with love-notes
To serenade Queen Famine.
In tears I recomposed the former scene,
Let the snow lie, watched the moon rise, suffered the owls,
Paid homage to them of unevent.
[From No more Ghosts (1940)]
Robert's complete set of poems edited by Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward and published in 3 volumes over the period 1995-1999 is now available in a single-volume hardcover, paperback or eBook publication from Carcanet and Penguin.