Poetry: Mysterious Arrival of the Dew | clivejames.com
[Invisible line of text as temporary way to expand content column justified text width to hit margins on most viewports, simply for improved display stability in the interval between column creation and loading]

Mysterious Arrival of the Dew

Tell me about the dew. Some say it falls
But does it fall in fact? And if it fall
Then where does it fall from? And why, in falling,
Does it not obscure the moon?

Dew on the hibiscus, dew on the cobweb,
Dew on the broken leaf,
The world’s supply of diamond ear-rings
Tossed from a car window.

Some intergalactic hoodlum sugar-daddy
Is trying to get girls.
Goethe had a name for these flattering droplets:
Shiver-pearls. Grab a handful.

Statistics say dew doesn’t fall at all:
Going nowhere near the moon,
It just gathers on any susceptible surface
When the temperature is right.

There is talk in every arid country
Of collecting it by the truck-load,
But the schemes get forgotten in the sun
As soon as it sucks up those trillion baubles.

Tell me about the dew. Is it a case
Of falling back the better to advance,
By the same veil, shawl or glittering pashmina
As last time out? But darling, it’s to die for.

Note (from Collected Poems)

In this poem every line of the first stanza, with the addition of only a single word, is a trouvaille taken from a single paragraph of one of the later novels in Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey sequence. Goethe calls the dew Zitteperlen (shiver-pearls) in Faust.