Published on Academy of American Poets (


Three paces down the shore, low sounds the lute,
The better that my longing you may know;
I’m not asking you to come,
But—can’t you go?

Three words, “I love you,” and the whole is said—
The greatness of it throbs from sun to sun;
I’m not asking you to walk,
But—can’t you run?

Three paces in the moonlight’s glow I stand,
And here within the twilight beats my heart.
I’m not asking you to finish,
But—to start.


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

“Serenade” was published in All-Story Cavalier Weekly in May 1914.



Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, on June 12, 1892. She was an American novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, and visual artist, as well as an important figure in the Modernist movement. Her works include Nightwood (1937), Ladies Almanack (1928) and The Book of Repulsive Women (1915). Barnes died in New York City on June 18, 1982.

Date Published: 2017-06-03

Source URL: