Maisie Houghton: “The moon came too”

The moon came too

To our daughter’s fiftieth birthday,
a party my son and I
had plotted, pieced and pruned so long,
all to appear an artless, airy evening-
merely a supper at the Sea Cottage,
on the porch, by the water.
But it worked. Who was more surprised?
Nina with her heart-stopping gladness
or me with my so-called effortless effort?
Long thin tables borrowed from the Islesboro school
draped in odd saris, my mother’s
faded checkerboard cloths.
Flowers in borrowed vases,
briar-thorn roses, buds of new-green garlic.
The guests all friends from childhood–
girls now lushmotherly
the guys bluff blowhard bearded.
My son recites from Yeats–a family favorite:
We must dance and we must sing
We are blest by everything.
The pale moon another surprise,
hesitating over the violet bay.


Maisie Houghton grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1962. She published her memoir, Pitch Uncertain, in 2011 (Tidepool Press). Her poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Paper Nautilus, Avalon Literary Review, The Café Review, and Third Wednesday. She currently resides with her husband in Boston, MA.

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