Moon Tonight

Moon tonight,
Beloved . . .
When twilight
Has gathered together
The ends
Of her soft robe
And the last bird-call
Has died.
Moon tonight—
Cool as a forgotten dream,
Dearer than lost twilights
Among trees where birds sing
No more.


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Moon Tonight” appears in the October 1926 issue of Gypsy. In Making Love Modern: The Intimate Public Worlds of New York’s Literary Women (Oxford University Press, 1999), Nina Miller, assistant professor of English at Iowa State University, writes, “With the opening address, the speaker ushers her beloved into the night-world, asserting in the process her control over its meaning. First comes the twilight, and with the imagistic brevity to which she was so frequently drawn, Bennett evokes the privacy we have seen as typical for the nightwoman [. . .]. Having thus established the inviolable feminine space as the very matrix of their love, the speaker introduces the moon, traditional catalyst for romantic passion. Yet this moon only brings displacements of emotion [. . .]—images signaling that this is an affair of the past (or the soon-to-be past). The felicity of the moon in this love scenario lies in the aesthetic residue it retains after the affair itself has burned away; left behind in the twilight and the nostalgia is a metaphorically and artistically enhanced self.” Miller concludes by remarking that “[t]he imagist aesthetic of ‘Moon Tonight’ suggests both Bennett’s significant avant-garde affiliation with international modernism and her strong roots in graphic art.”