1. Home
  2. Full-Length Portrait of the Moon by Alice Oswald
Full-Length Portrait of the Moon

Related Poem Content Details

She could be any woman at all,
caught off-guard on-guard.
With her hands stroking or strangling and maybe
with her intentions half-interred.
But she is as she is. Her gaze is always
filing away at its cord.
And what she's really after
is you to love her.

She forgets who she is.
She could be so small
she almost has no smell.
She feels like anyone at all.
When you walk up to her,
she keeps quite still,
but what she answers to
is never loud enough to know.

Eaten away by outwardness,
her eyes are empty.
They could be watching you
or not. They work indifferently,
like lit-up glass and if you ask
why she won't speak, why should she?
When what she really wants
is silence.

You know what women are like:
Kay, Moira, Sandra.
They move through a dark room,
peering round under
the hoods of their names.
Alcestis, Clytemnestra.
She could be either of those.
She scarcely knows.
She goes on thinking something
just over your shoulder.
This could be the last night
before you lose her.
But what's the use
of saying one thing or another.
When what she's really after
is you to love her.

Source: Poetry (February 2007)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Full-Length Portrait of the Moon

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information

  • Browse Poems

    loading...