Sad moon shines with sorrow,
a soft and lunatic light;
dark and cold themselves are chilled --
now comes the dreaded night
with clipping hoof of herald's horse,
a call of ram-theft horn,
a terror looming in the sky
as heart-wrung clouds are torn.
Like famine, conquest, slaughter,
the hunter pours out hell:
his pallid steed leads pallid hounds
in a hunt beyond all pale.
Kalaratri in the Starlight
Come now, come now, said her smile
as she leaned on the wooden fence,
come now, come now: a woman's voice
that coaxes and never relents.
She looked me over with sparkling eye
blushed and smiled once more,
flirted at me with lash, with glance,
with form that held good things in store.
My love is another's, I quietly said.
Though your deep eyes are bright,
Though you reach up with willow-tree grace,
My love's for another by right.
She smiled again, with softest of purrs
replied that true love left no choice:
when true lovers meet beneath a full moon
fate speaks in inexorable voice
of destiny laid from the first of the world
that cannot be turned or undone.
When she loved a man, that loving was sure,
and she loved, and I was the one.
But a bright, lovely girl awaits me, I know,
hopes to see me in clear morning light.
How can a man seek honor and truth
who dallies with strangers at night?
Ah, said the lady (as she drew near
I felt a brush of the warmth of her breath),
these frail mundane loves pass us like sighs;
I speak true, or my name is not Death.
Then she trickled her finger down the bridge of my nose,
took my face up into her hands,
smiled at me under cold stars --
and we kissed, and I fell to the sand.
Her hair is sun turned into strand,
her skin is light like cream;
by endless ocean's endless wave
she endlessly shall dream:
a lady by the salted sea,
she sleeps forevermore;
forever on the sands I walk
her beauty to adore.
I loved her deeply in my youth,
but she my brother wed;
I wove enchantment in the air
that struck my brother dead.
I spoke a word of ancient might
that turned her soul to sleep
and cast a spell on time itself,
eternal love to keep.
Now walk I on this weary sand
for ages none can tell,
and keep my heart upon her form,
and weep, and love in hell.