Published on Academy of American Poets (


I work a lot and live far less than I could,
but the moon is beautiful and there are
blue stars . . . . I live the chaste song of my heart.

—Garcia Lorca to Emilia Llanos Medinor,
November 25, 1920

The moon is in doubt
over whether to be
a man or a woman.

There’ve been rumors,
all manner of allegations,
bold claims and public lies: 

He’s belligerent. She’s in a funk.
When he fades, the world teeters.
When she burgeons, crime blossoms.

O how the operatic impulse wavers!
Dip deep, my darling, into the blank pool. 


Copyright © 2015 by Rita Dove. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 24, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“How to write an old-fashioned poem to the moon—that luminous orb so swaddled in myth, ensnared in the silvery web of its own symbolism? For eons we have sung to it, shouted at it, wept or frolicked in the shadows or stood under its glow as our spirit howled. Why does the moon call us? Why do we yearn to be called, to step off the hyphen?”
Rita Dove


Rita Dove

The author of numerous collections of poetry, Rita Dove served as the US Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2005 to 2011.

Date Published: 2015-04-24

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