African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Esther Popel, "Theft" (1925)

The moon
Was an old, old woman, tonight,
Hurrying home;
Calling pitifully to her children,
The stars,
Begging them to go home with her
For she was afraid,
But they would not.
They only laughed
While she crept along
Huddling against the dark blue wall of the Night
Stooping low,
Her old black hood wrapped close about her ears,
And only the pale curve of her yellow cheek
With a tear in the hollow of it
Showing through.
And the wind laughed too,
For he was teasing the old woman,
Pelting her with snowballs,

Filling her old eyes with the flakes of them, Making her cold.
She stumbled along, shivering,
And once she fell,
And the snow buried her;
And all her jewels
Slid from the old bag
Under her arm
And fell to earth,
And the tall trees seized them,
And hung them about their necks,
And filled their bony arms with them.
All their nakedness was covered by her jewel
‘And they would not give them back to her.
The old moon-woman moaned piteously, Hurrying home;
And the wild wind laughed at her
And her children laughed too,
And the tall trees taunted her
With their glittering plunder.

Published in Opportunity, April 1925

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