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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

Trans-

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. 

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

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.

by this poet

poem

If music be the food of love, play on. 

This is the house that music built:
each note a fingertip’s purchase,
rung upon rung laddering

across the unspeakable world. 
As for those other shrill facades,
rigged-for-a-day porticos

composed to soothe regiments
of eyes

2
poem

 

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2
poem

(September, 1918)

This lonely beautiful word
                                                means church
and it is quiet here; the stone
walls curve
                        like slow water.
When we arrived the people were already gone,
green shutters latched and stoops