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D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930). Amores. 1916.

51. Brother and Sister

THE SHORN moon trembling indistinct on her path,

Frail as a scar upon the pale blue sky,

Draws towards the downward slope: some sorrow hath

Worn her down to the quick, so she faintly fares

Along her foot-searched way without knowing why

She creeps persistent down the sky’s long stairs.

Some day they see, though I have never seen,

The dead moon heaped within the new moon’s arms;

For surely the fragile, fine young thing had been

Too heavily burdened to mount the heavens so.

But my heart stands still, as a new, strong dread alarms

Me; might a young girl be heaped with such shadow of woe?

Since Death from the mother moon has pared us down to the quick,

And cast us forth like shorn, thin moons, to travel

An uncharted way among the myriad thick

Strewn stars of silent people, and luminous litter

Of lives which sorrows like mischievous dark mice chavel

To nought, diminishing each star’s glitter,

Since Death has delivered us utterly, naked and white,

Since the month of childhood is over, and we stand alone,

Since the beloved, faded moon that set us alight

Is delivered from us and pays no heed though we moan

In sorrow, since we stand in bewilderment, strange

And fearful to sally forth down the sky’s long range.

We may not cry to her still to sustain us here,

We may not hold her shadow back from the dark.

Oh, let us here forget, let us take the sheer

Unknown that lies before us, bearing the ark

Of the covenant onwards where she cannot go.

Let us rise and leave her now, she will never know.