On the long shore, lit by the moon To show them properly alone, Two lovers suddenly embraced So that their shadows were as one. The ordinary night was graced For them by the swift tide of blood That silently they took at flood, And for a little time they prized Themselves emparadised.
Then, as if shaken by stage-fright Beneath the hard moon's bony light, They stood together on the sand Embarrassed in each other's sight But still conspiring hand in hand, Until they saw, there underfoot, As though the world had found them out, The goose fish turning up, though dead, His hugely grinning head.
There in the china light he lay, Most ancient and corrupt and grey. They hesitated at his smile, Wondering what it seemed to say To lovers who a little while Before had thought to understand, By violence upon the sand, The only way that could be known To make a world their own.
It was a wide and moony grin Together peaceful and obscene; They knew not what he would express, So finished a comedian He might mean failure or success, But took it for an emblem of Their sudden, new and guilty love To be observed by, when they kissed, That rigid optimist.
So he became their patriarch, Dreadfully mild in the half-dark. His throat that the sand seemed to choke, His picket teeth, these left their mark But never did explain the joke That so amused him, lying there While the moon went down to disappear Along the still and tilted track That bears the zodiac.