Robin Hyde

Half Moon

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The little pools of starlight splash
Against the poplars’ slender lines;
The moon is like a golden comb,
Caught in the tresses of the pines.

Go quietly, lest unaware
You find the leafless path that leads
To where an older god than God
Makes cruel music through the reeds.

The lilies float like slender hands
Towards a satyr-trampled brink.
With crowns of oakleaves in their hair
The shouting fauns come down to drink.

Not Innocency’s self shall walk
These breathless ways and shall not see
The wine-stained lips and dangerous eyes,
The swart-faced folk of Arcady;

And lovers, who have wandered through
The clover-purple evening’s peace,
Have seen, deep-breasted, insolent,
The mocking loveliness of Greece —

Have heard the lawless bugles sing
From that defiant Paradise,
And glimpsed, like moonlight through the trees,
The glory of unearthly eyes.

And never shall the watcher seek
His tender human loves again;
For marble-white, with singing lips,
The woodmaids glimmer through his brain.

Go quietly. The tall gods here
Would wear your beauty like a flower,
To crush with jests and cast aside
In one unpitying, splendid hour.

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Robin Hyde