I remember distinctly the beginnings of this love
About which it was easy to make vows so hard to prove
A new moon hung from a blossom-laden apple bough,
And eternity hung in the silence of that now.
Presently the stars came out and got caught in your hair.
Then the dawn escaped from your eyes and spread everywhere.
Night followed night of dreaming and loving till the month’s half-close,
When the moon came up and stood on the hill like a yellow rose.
You stole from my side sometime during that full-moon night.
When I awoke, my body was shrouded in white.
Gradually the moon waned to a chink in a curtained window;
Then died. And the dark took over to forever continue.
I left my house and orchard and came down to the seashore
Where my grief can be heard by none above the surf’s roar.
A beautiful and moving personal lament. Even the encounter with the Beloved seems caught in the flux of time, the phases of the moon. The Beloved’s beauty had seemed transcendent but the only touch of eternity is the feeling of endless loss. When the Beloved departs, the poet’s body is shrouded in white moonlight like a dead thing. Finally the roar of the flux of the surf overwhelms even his grief.
Working well on a purely naturalistic level of human love it obviously points to the invisible and inner encounter. A hint of his own responsibility for the loss is given in the easily made vows in the first stanza. A stripping away of all illusions including that of possessing the beloved is suggested. The encounter with love is a mighty wound to all hopes of enjoyment. Beauty is a revealer of the Beloved. But in practice it is also a veil from the Beloved in that it leads to passional attachment.