Fannie Stearns Gifford

Moon Folly

(The Song of Conn the Fool)

I will go up the mountain after the Moon:

She is caught in a dead fir-tree.

Like a great pale apple of silver and pearl,

Like a great pale apple is she.

I will leap and will catch her with quick cold hands

And carry her home in my sack.

I will set her down safe on the oaken bench

That stands at the chimney-back.

And then I will sit by the fire all night,

And sit by the fire all day.

I will gnaw at the Moon to my heart's delight

Till I gnaw her slowly away.

And while I grow mad with the Moon's cold taste

The World will beat at my door,

Crying "Come out!" and crying "Make haste,

And give us the Moon once more!"

But I shall not answer them ever at all.

I shall laugh, as I count and hide

The great black beautiful Seeds of the Moon

In a flower-pot deep and wide.

Then I shall lie down and go fast asleep,

Drunken with flame and aswoon.

But the seeds will sprout and the seeds will leap,

The subtle swift seeds of the Moon.

And some day, all of the World that cries

And beats at my door shall see

A thousand moon-leaves spring from my thatch

On a wonderful white Moon-tree!

Then each shall have Moons to his heart's desire:

Apples of silver and pearl;

Apples of orange and copper fire

Setting his five wits aswirl!

And then they will thank me, who mock me now,

"Wanting the Moon is he,"—

Oh, I'm off to the mountain after the Moon,

Ere she falls from the dead fir-tree!