This is a love poem addressed to an unidentified woman the narrator adores from afar, although she does not notice him. She acts as his muse, lighting up the world for him—or turning it to ice or dust as she turns away from him.
Hughes puts this woman on a pedestal, addressing her in chivalric terms as "O Lady" at the beginning of each verse. The "O" communicates the depth of emotion he feels for her. At the same time, given the lack of contact they have, he is idealizing her: he does not really know her, beyond that she is beautiful.
He says of her that the moon "blessed" her, and the "stars swam for eyes in [her] face." Likening a lover's eyes to stars is a conventional image (think of Romeo and Juliet or "She Walks in Beauty Like the Night") but Hughes complicates this image by calling them "difficult" stars—perhaps he has trouble reading the expression in her eyes or they are sometimes moody. He stands in her shadow as the adoring lover, but when her shadow turns from him, it...
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