The Old Horse in the City
The moon’s a peck of corn. It lies
Heaped up for me to eat.
I wish that I might climb the path
And taste that supper sweet.
Men feed me straw and scanty grain
And beat me till I’m sore.
Some day I’ll break the halter-rope
And smash the stable-door,
Run down the street and mount the hill
Just as the corn appears.
I’ve seen it rise at certain times
For years and years and years.
What the Hyena Said
The moon is but a golden skull,
She mounts the heavens now,
And Moon-Worms, mighty Moon-Worms
Are wreathed around her brow.
The Moon-Worms are a doughty race:
They eat her gray and golden face.
Her eye-sockets dead, and molding head:
These caverns are their dwelling-place.
The Moon-Worms, serpents of the skies,
From the great hollows of her eyes
Behold all souls, and they are wise:
With tiny, keen and icy eyes,
Behold how each man sins and dies.
When Earth in gold-corruption lies
Long dead, the moon-worm butterflies
On cyclone wings will reach this place —
Yea, rear their brood on earth’s dead face.
What the Snow Man Said
The Moon’s a snowball. See the drifts
Of white that cross the sphere.
The Moon’s a snowball, melted down
A dozen times a year.
Yet rolled again in hot July
When all my days are done
And cool to greet the weary eye
After the scorching sun.
The moon’s a piece of winter fair
Renewed the year around,
Behold it, deathless and unstained,
Above the grimy ground!
It rolls on high so brave and white
Where the clear air-rivers flow,
Proclaiming Christmas all the time
And the glory of the snow!
What the Scare-crow Said
The dim-winged spirits of the night
Do fear and serve me well.
They creep from out the hedges of
The garden where I dwell.
I wave my arms across the walk.
The troops obey the sign,
And bring me shimmering shadow-robes
And cups of cowslip-wine.
Then dig a treasure called the moon,
A very precious thing,
And keep it in the air for me
Because I am a King.
What Grandpa Mouse Said
The moon’s a holy owl-queen.
She keeps them in a jar
Under her arm till evening,
Then sallies forth to war.
She pours the owls upon us.
They hoot with horrid noise
And eat the naughty mousie-girls
And wicked mousie-boys.
So climb the moonvine every night
And to the owl-queen pray:
Leave good green cheese by moonlit trees
For her to take away.
And never squeak, my children,
Nor gnaw the smoke-house door:
The owl-queen then will love us
And send her birds no more.
The Beggar Speaks
“What Mister Moon Said to Me.”
Come, eat the bread of idleness,
Come, sit beside the spring:
Some of the flowers will keep awake,
Some of the birds will sing.
Come, eat the bread no man has sought
For half a hundred years:
Men hurry so they have no griefs,
Nor even idle tears:
They hurry so they have no loves:
They cannot curse nor laugh —
Their hearts die in their youth with neither
Grave nor epitaph.
My bread would make them careless,
And never quite on time —
Their eyelids would be heavy,
Their fancies full of rhyme:
Each soul a mystic rose-tree,
Or a curious incense tree:
Come, eat the bread of idleness,
Said Mister Moon to me.
What the Forester Said
The moon is but a candle-glow
That flickers thro’ the gloom:
The starry space, a castle hall:
And Earth, the children’s room,
Where all night long the old trees stand
To watch the streams asleep:
Grandmothers guarding trundle-beds:
Good shepherds guarding sheep.