Once, when the pall of the dusk had folden
The old world, haggard and brown,
And veiled the purple and rose and golden
Streets of the Sunset Town,
And the queen moon came with her wan white maidens,
Gathering stars for her crown,
We watched them weave her a wondrous garland,
Ingathered from far and nigh,
Rubies and sapphires and pearls of starland,
And you were a king — and I
Was queen of the islands, the white moon islands
On the outer rim o’ the sky.
The wind sprites wove us a tented palace
Of amethyst woofed with fawn,
And the pale moon-lilies for plate and chalice
We plucked from a peri’s lawn,
While the old star-sentinels marched beneath us
To the camp of the blood-red dawn.
Soul of my soul! in a wild red dawning,
Long left in the years’ dim wake,
Each lost the other for ever and ever;
But still for the old sake’s sake,
I seek you, aye, ‘mid the world-worn faces
In mazes the earth folk make.
There are stars, bright stars, on the world-ways gleaming,
White pilot stars kind and true;
But a soul-star beamed on the hills of dreaming
That never the earth-skies knew.
Ah, love! for the islands, the lost moon islands,
Where the bitter-sweet garlands grew!
There were steps of gold to the isles up yonder,
In a year that has passed away;
Shall we ever find them again, I wonder?
Gleaming in skies o’ grey,
Ever it seems that the stars are weeping,
While the queen moon answers Nay!
But still in the dusk, when my heart is weeping
The tears that mine eyes must keep,
When the great white moon like a ghost comes creeping
Out over the dreamland deep,
I greet the islands, the pale moon islands,
That whisper me in my sleep.
And, aye, when a moonless wild night is falling
On a blind world choking with fears,
I hear your voice in the winds a-calling
Like a song to my startled ears;
And I rise to follow. But where shall I follow,
My star of the stormy years?
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 27-28