Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Magdalen by moonlight
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Brilliant the glass-clear moon, silver petal,
Metal-bright in the sky, but in the stream
Dream-trembling, insubstantial as the pale
Frail gold leaves that float and drown
Down where the water shakes with the moon’s laughter,
After sorrow of the willows’ wailing,
Trailing their grey hands where shadows are.
Far below the bridge the current’s dancing,
Glancing up to the delicate pinnacle trees,
Easily lifting, spreading leaves stone-wrought,
Caught star-reaching in the cold, fire-white
Brightness of the still untroubled moon.


Two earlier versions of this poem have minor differences of wording and are titled 'Magdalen at Night' and 'Magdalen Bridge'.

Undated, c1941
Oxford Times, 6 April 1962

The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983