The Star Dial

Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα
καὶ Πληΐαδες

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.