Moon Goddess


When you and I were deep in love,
And our friends and family rejoiced for us,
Bringing gifts of gold and bolts of silk,
For us to fashion and wear as we chose,
You brought home with you a silver flask,
Brim-full and flowing with eternal light,
Eternal the flame within its glass,
For your own mortal, greedy thirst
Before our wedding, when the nightingale
Sang froth deep-throated from the blackened bush.
I took the cask of precious potion,
From the inner folds of your nuptial robe
And fled from the temple of our youth,
Our house together; you followed me
In mad pursuit for that which I stole,
Your bow and arrow finally raised.
One-thousand cooks, and grooms, and men,
Bore arms and left in hot pursuit,
Feet trampling empty grass and weed
Until mud pooled where our gardens lately were;
And I collapsed with loss of breath,
Beneath a mountain’s crooked bend,
Where the moon grew huge with pregnant light,
And bared me to my household’s men;
A celestial cloud fell from the sky,
On which a white-furred rabbit rode,
Its liquid tears anointing me,
Upon each flushed and feverish cheek;
The flask was emptied and swallowed whole,
Immortal nectar sweetly made,
Then felt I strength of twenty men,
Coarse through the marrow of my bones;
Before the Rabbit took me up,
To its home, one-thousand miles away -
My husband shot a lofty arch,
Then sheathed his many arrows and left.

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