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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Dead Moon

By Danske Dandridge (1858–1914)

[Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1858. Died in Shepherdstown, W. V., 1914. Joy, and Other Poems. 1888.]

WE are ghost-ridden:

Through the deep night

Wanders a spirit,

Noiseless and white.

Loiters not, lingers not, knoweth not rest;

Ceaselessly haunting the East and the West.

She, whose undoing the ages have wrought,

Moves on to the time of God’s rhythmical thought.

In the dark, swinging sea,

As she speedeth through space,

She reads her pale image;

The wounds are agape on her face.

She sees her grim nakedness

Pierced by the eyes

Of the Spirits of God

In their flight through the skies.

(Her wounds, they are many and hollow.)

The Earth turns and wheels as she flies,

And this Spectre, this Ancient, must follow.

When, in the æons,

Had she beginning?

What is her story?

What was her sinning?

Do the ranks of the Holy Ones

Know of her crime?

Does it loom in the mists

Of the birthplace of Time?

The stars, do they speak of her

Under their breath,

“Will this Wraith be forever

Thus restless in death?”

On, through immensity,

Sliding and stealing,

On, through infinity,

Nothing revealing.

I see the fond lovers;

They walk in her light;

They charge the “soft maiden”

To bless their love-plight.

Does she laugh in her place,

As she glideth through space?

Does she laugh in her orbit with never a sound?

That to her, a dead body,

With nothing but rents in her round—

Blighted and marred,

Wrinkled and scarred,

Barren and cold,

Wizened and old—

That to her should be told,

That to her should be sung

The yearning and burning of them that are young?

Our Earth that is young,

That is throbbing with life,

Has fiery upheavals,

Has boisterous strife;

But she that is dead has no stir, breathes no air;

She is calm, she is voiceless, in lonely despair.

We dart through the void;

We have cries, we have laughter;

The phantom that haunts us

Comes silently after.

This Ghost-lady follows,

Though none hear her tread;

On, on, we are flying,

Still tracked by our Dead—

By this white, awful Mystery,

Haggard and dead.