Nocturne

The zephyrs sailed their silken ships
Across the star-strewn skies to meet
Selene who cleaved the silvered sea
To softly set its diamonds at your feet. Naked Aphrodite rising from their gleam,
Beckoned but only Eros knew,
And whispered to the scented night
That she was you. Whence the beauty of your being in the raiment of the moon?
Whence the warmth of darkness, or veiled laughter in the air?
From what perfumed isle the southwind touched the waxen spiraea,
And spilled its midnight magic on us there? Came Helios with his sword of fire
To end again a treasured night,
And gild the waves with Cathay's gold
As Eros fled the sea of light. Gone the jewels with Phoebe's going.
Gone the lunar grace that bathed thee.
Gone Aphrodite, lost in dawn,
Leaving but reality.

by Thurston Munson

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