Autumn Moonrise

by Robert Laurence Binyon

Laurence Binyon

Lamp that risest lone
From thy secret place,
Like a sleeper's face,
Charged with thoughts unknown,
Strange thoughts, unexpressed
In thy brightening beam,
Strangeness more than dream
Upon earth e'er guessed!
Strange thou gleam'st as some
Eastern marble old,
Scrawled with runes that hold
Histories, yet are dumb.
But thy viewless hand
Out of whelming night
Waves the woods to light,
Summons up the land!
Sea, that merged in sky;
To its far bound shines;
And thy touch defines
Our infinity.
Now the murmuring coast
Glistens; rocks are there;
And what most was bare
Thou enrichest most.
Far through granite caves
Diving glide thy beams,
Till the dark roof gleams
Laced with hovering waves,
O'er the white walls glide,
Through the lattice creep,
Where the lovers sleep,
Bridegroom by his bride.
Soft their wakened eyes
From a deep bliss gaze
On those marvellous rays
New from Paradise.
In the self--same hour,
Whitening Russian plains,
On sad exile trains
Thou hast also power.
No more kindly gloom
Veils from them despair:
Near and clear and bare
They behold their doom.
Bowed, they see their own
Shadows on the snow,
And the way they go,
Endlessly alone:
Aching, chained, footsore,
Through the waste they wind,
All their joy behind,
Nought but grief before.
O thou sleeper's face
Whence hast thou this gift
So much to uplift,
And so much to abase?
Lovers' happier dream,
Exiles' heavier pain,
Thou on each dost rain
Beam on radiant beam!
Changed in thy control,
Though no leaf hath stirred,
Though no breath was heard,
Lie both world and soul.

Last updated January 14, 2019