The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

Harvest Moon

Over the twilight field,

Over the glimmering field

And bleeding furrows, with their sodden yield

Of sheaves that still did writhe,

After the scythe;

The teeming field, and darkly overstrewn

With all the garnered fullness of that noon --

Two looked upon each other.

One was a Woman, men had called their mother:

And one the Harvest Moon.

And one the Harvest Moon

Who stood, who gazed

On those unquiet gleanings, where they bled;

Till the lone Woman said:

"But we were crazed...

We should laugh now together, I and you;

We two.

You, for your ever dreaming it was worth

A star's while to look on, and light the earth;

And I, for ever telling to my mind

Glory it was and gladness, to give birth

To human kind.

I gave the breath, -- and thought it not amiss,

I gave the breath to men,

For men to slay again;

Lording it over anguish, all to give

My life, that men might live,

For this.

"You will be laughing now, remembering

We called you once Dead World, and barren thing.

Yes, so we called you then,

You, far more wise

Than to give life to men."

Over the field that there

Gave back the skies

A scattered upward stare

From sightless eyes,

The furrowed field that lay

Striving awhile, through many a bleeding dune

Of throbbing clay, -- but dumb and quiet soon,

She looked; and went her way,

The Harvest Moon.