by Fannie Sterns Davis

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 clasp her in quick cold hands         5
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.         10
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 may beat on my door,
Crying “Come out!” and crying “Make haste!         15
And give us the Moon once more!”
But I will not answer them ever at all;
I will laugh, as I count and hide
The great black beautiful seeds of the Moon
In a flower-pot deep and wide.         20
Then I will 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 beats         25
And cries at my door, shall see
A thousand moon-leaves sprout from my thatch
On a marvellous white Moon-tree!
Then each shall have moons to his heart’s desire:
Apples of silver and pearl:         30
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,         35
Ere she falls from the dead fir-tree!


I loved this poem madly as a schoolkid in 1969. Maybe it's because it's (not so subtly) about drugs, and was at a time(circa 1910) when legislation was tipping between Nolo and Volo. Maybe because it's fairy-talish, in a way few people appreciate anymore. Maybe because it's all that, and got under the radar to be in an old, discarded Fourth Grade reader. Enjoy.

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