The Shadow Man

There was a man who dwelt alone
   beneath the moon in shadow.
He sat as long as lasting stone,
   and yet he had no shadow.
The owls, they perched upon his head
   beneath the moon of summer:
They wiped their beaks and thought him dead,
   who sat there dumb all summer.

There came a lady clad in grey
   beneath the moon a-shining.
One moment did she stand and stay
   her head with flowers entwining.
He woke, as had he sprung of stone,
   beneath the moon in shadow,
And clasped her fast, both flesh and bone ;
   and they were clad in shadow.

And never more she walked in light,
   or over moonlit mountain,
But dwelt within the hill, where night
   is lit but with a fountain -
Save once a year when caverns yawn,
   and hills are clad in shadow,
They dance together then till dawn
   and cast a single shadow. 

First published in “The Annual” of Our Lady’s School, Abingdon (1936)

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