Worshipped once, discreetly, by our sires
as Cynthia, the lamp of secret haunts,
and still attended through blue landscapes by
a blameless harem of the stars, O moon!
do you see the lovers on their prosperous beds,
teeth gleaming where they sleep open-mouthed?
Do you see the poet struggling with his lines?
Or the vipers coupling in the new-mown hay?
Creeping on high in your yellow domino,
do you still, from darkness until dawn,
search out Endymion’s outdated charms?
—“what I see is your mother, child of this ruined age,
bent to her looking glass by the weight of years
and skillfully painting the breast that suckled you!”