Published on Academy of American Poets (

Clair de Lune


I should like to imagine
A moonlight in which there would be no machine-guns!

For, it is possible
To come out of a trench or a hut or a tent or a church all in ruins:
To see the black perspective of long avenues
All silent.
The white strips of sky
At the sides, cut by the poplar trunks:
The white strips of sky
Above, diminishing—
The silence and blackness of the avenue
Enclosed by immensities of space
Spreading away
Over No Man’s Land….

For a minute…
For ten…
There will be no star shells
But the untroubled stars,
There will be no Very light
But the light of the quiet moon
Like a swan.
And silence….

Then, far away to the right thro’ the moonbeams
Wukka Wukka” will go the machine-guns,
And, far away to the left
Wukka Wukka
And sharply,
Wuk…Wuk… and then silence
For a space in the clear of the moon.


I should like to imagine
A moonlight in which the machine-guns of trouble
Will be silent….

Do you remember, my dear
Long ago, on the cliffs, in the moonlight,
Looking over to Flatholme
We sat….Long ago!...
And the things that you told me…
Little things in the clear of the moon,
The little, sad things of a life….
We shall do it again
Full surely,
Sitting still, looking over a Flatholme.

Then, far away to the right
Shall sound the Machine Guns of trouble
And, far away to the lft, under Flatholme,

I wonder, my dear, can you stick it?
As we could say: “Stick it, the Welch!”
In the dark of the moon,
Going over….


This poem is in the public domain.


Ford Madox Ford

Often associated with the Imagist movement, Ford Madox Ford was the author of numerous poetry collections, including New Poems (William Edwin Rudge, 1927). He fought in World War I from 1915 to 1917 and died in 1939.

Date Published: 2018-11-12

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