As I walked out one harvest night
About the stroke of One,
The Moon attained to her full height
Stood beaming like the Sun.
She exorcised the ghostly wheat
To mute assent in Love's defeat
Whose tryst had now begun.
The fields lay sick beneath my tread,
A tedious owlet cried;
The nightingale above my head
With this or that replied,
Like man and wife who nightly keep
Inconsequent debate in sleep
As they dream side by side.
Your phantom wore the moon's cold mask,
My phantom wore the same,
Forgetful of the feverish task
In hope of which they came,
Each image held the other's eyes
And watched a grey distraction rise
To cloud the eager flame.
To cloud the eager flame of love,
To fog the shining gate:
They held the tyrannous queen above
Sole mover of their fate,
They glared as marble statues glare
Across the tessellated stair
Or down the Halls of State.
And now cold earth was Arctic sea,
Each breath came dagger keen,
Two bergs of glinting ice were we,
The broad moon sailed between;
There swam the mermaids, tailed and finned,
And Love went by upon the wind
As though it had not been.