The Night-Blooming Cereus

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  FLOWER of the moon!
Still white is her brow whom we worshiped on earth long ago;
Yea, purer than pearls in deep seas, and more virgin than snow.
The dull years veil their eyes from her shining, and vanish afraid,
Nor profane her with age—the immortal, nor dim her with shade.  

It is we are unworthy, we worldlings, to dwell in her ways;
We have broken her altars and silenced her voices of praise.
She hath hearkened to singing more silvern, seen raptures more bright;
To some planet more pure she hath fled on the wings of the night,—
  Flower of the moon!  

Yet she loveth the world that forsook her, for, lo! once a year
She, Diana, translucent, pale, scintillant, down from her sphere
Floateth earthward like star-laden music, to bloom in a flower,
And our hearts feel the spell of the goddess once more for an hour.

See! she sitteth in splendor nor knoweth desire nor decay,  
And the night is a glory around her more bright than the day,
And her breath hath the sweetness of worlds where no sorrow is known;
And we long as we worship to follow her back to her own,—
  Flower of the moon!

© Harriet Monroe