The Stars and the Moon

By Grace Schulman b. 1935 Grace Schulman

In Legends of the Jews, Lewis Ginzberg writes that an Egyptian princess hung a tapestry woven with diamonds and pearls above King Solomon’s bed. When the king wanted to rise, he thought he saw stars and, believing it was night, slept on.

Scaling ladders with buckets of white enamel,
I painted the stars and the moon on my windowpanes   
to hold back days and nights. I yanked the telephone
and stopped the wooden clock. The weeks a lightning stroke,   
desire turned to love. With my blue diamond,
I sliced minutes in half and made days vanish,
fooling the hours.

                           I became so skillful   
at firmaments that miracles occurred:
a bearded comet moved across the room   
breeding no omens, tearing no major kingdoms   
into small provinces, but there it was,   
reminding us that rock may spin and flare,   
lifting the senses, burning into sight.

You eased pale hands away; I saw your shoulders   
recede through doorways, watched your image fail   
with your famished smile. I left our room
with dream-filled eyes, and standing in the sun,   
I gazed at bricks and glass and saw, suddenly,   
flashing in stony light, the stars and the moon.

Grace Schulman, “The Stars and the Moon” from Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Grace Schulman. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved,

Source: Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)

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Poet Grace Schulman b. 1935

Subjects Stars, Planets, Heavens, Nature, Mythology & Folklore, Fairy-tales & Legends

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 Grace  Schulman


Poet and editor Grace Schulman was born in 1935 in New York City, studying at Bard College, American University, and New York University, where she earned her PhD. She is distinguished professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY, and served as the poetry editor of the Nation from 1972 to 2006. She also directed the 92nd Street Y Poetry Center from 1973 to 1985. She has published six collections of poetry, including Days of . . .

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SUBJECT Stars, Planets, Heavens, Nature, Mythology & Folklore, Fairy-tales & Legends

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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