All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/The Moon that Shone in Paradise


O NEW old moon! O old moon new!
Which title may I give to you?
You were not here a month ago,
Yet here ashine to-night; and so
Conflicting statements both are true.

To-night the floods of still white rain
Come to me through the window-pane,
Sodden with old-time memory
Of Earth's primeval history,
When shadows were Earth's only stain.

Is this round moon, I see arise
Up its old roadway in the skies,
Over my small horizon's rim,
Made by the pine wood's shadow dim,
The moon that lighted Paradise?

That shone with new created beam,
O'er Eden's bright quadruple stream,
Over the onyx pebbles going,
Or through Havilah's gold sand flowing,
Under Euphrates' palms to gleam?

The moon that shone on Eve's bright hair,
And cloaked with light her beauty fair,
That mirrored Eve and Paradise
Only in kingly Adam's eyes,
Beneath a brow unlined by care?

Thy white shafts barred the dens of shade
Where harmless lions crouching laid,
And thornless roses lifted up,
To thee and God, each incense cup
Through silver altars, shadow frayed.

O new old moon! O new moon old!
Hast thou no tale to mortal told
Through all these years? Nay, tell me now
How Eden vanished, where and how
Its sinless love and sands of gold.

Tell me what lies beyond the blue,
And what the whirling star-worlds do?

Is there no jasper wall in sight,
Whose turrets catch thy silver light,
With gates where weary souls go through?

Unanswering still, the page of white
Circles about my hearth to-night,
Touching the old familiar things
Softly as angels' tender wings.
Good-night, new moon! old moon, good-night!