The Star Dial
Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα
When the moon was high I waited,
Pale with evening’s tints it shone;
When its gold came slow, belated,
Still I kept my watch alone
When it sank, a golden wonder,
From my window still I bent,
Though the clouds hung thick with thunder
Where our hilltop roadway went.
By the cypress tops I’ve counted
Every golden star that passed;
Weary hours they’ve shone and mounted,
Each more tender than the last.
All my pillows hot with turning,
All my weary maids asleep;
Every star in heaven was burning
For the tryst you did not keep.
Now the clouds have hushed their warning,
Paleness creeps upon the sea;
One star more, and then the morning—
Share, oh, share that star with me!
Never fear that I shall chide thee
For the wasted stars of night,
So thine arms will come and hide me
From the dawn’s unwelcome light.
Though the moon a heav’n had given us,
Every star a crown and throne,
Till the morn apart had driven us—
Let the last star be our own.
Ah! the cypress tops are sighing
With the wind that brings the day;
There my last pale treasure dying
Ebbs in jeweled light away;
Ebbs like water bright, untasted;
Black the cypress, bright the sea;
Heav’n’s whole treasury lies wasted
And the dawn burns over me.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.