Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That Nosy Old Moon

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(for Q.)

Little boys at swim in the calm slough waters,
pure delight, their bare limbs winslow homering

in the stillest of painted splashes. At the edge
of the bright blue calm water, a gathering

that fanned upward of the slender fringe
into a rise of soft grass apron, under shading oaks.

And under the trees, all along that slight
swale of grass, move creatures, chatting easily,

feasting, listening, as fond and funny words
are spoken of someone, forever of that gathering:
a man, a poet capable of lines

long-thought into beauty. However pensively
moon floats over that water scene, thinking

upon ripples that so resemble her sheets of dry sea,
we consider her distant, think her puzzled by the sunlight

that must obscure for her our lands and oceans.
But she, aiming faint daybeams, penetrating just
so far the airblue veil, intimates

a steady eons-held note—if we listen for it with our eyes—
a consoling note to soften griefs, a slow lunar music.


We're talking about the moon this week: specifically What The Moon Saw. (Yes, poets are mooning me this week...) What was it that the moon saw? Send your moon-musings to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on Seeds of the Week.

The new Summer issue of Canary was posted Monday in honor of the Summer Solstice: Editor Gail Entrekin hopes you'll take a few minutes to look it over and pass it on to friends.

And the beautiful new issue of Poetry Now is now available online:


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

in the stone quarry flooded
the midnight pool
you and I
at the floodgates of love
shallow the moon glitter
hot as July
metallic glaze on a gushing plain
voices a net of echoes
ears silenced as we sink below
to the quarry floor
cool nip of toes pale as tilapia
silver scales glisten
breasts float fat, opalescent
all night caress of dreams
lapping at arms and legs
your arms and legs
wrapping me


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

A writer of a military turn of fancy might say
that it was the sublimest battle-scene ever enacted on earth.

—Elihu Burritt, Walks in the Black Country

The ruins of Dudley Castle: winding stairways climbing
broken towers. The moon shines through glassless windows
of the banquet hall; casts waltzing tree-shadows
in the salon where nobles danced “when Elizabeth
was queen.” It smiles into the chapel on all those statued,
happy saints, and silhouettes the citadel rooted in cliff.

It keeps track of a traveler ascending dizzy stone steps
to the parapet, to over-look a war-zone, red sea of furnaces—
Wolverhampton, Albion, Smethwick each launching
its mortars, volleys and cross-fires of shot, shell and bomb
under a purple cloud of smoke. The moon shines even
on Vulcan’s gateway. But its light can’t penetrate

an underworld of pits and trenches, mines and counter-mines
where unseen men dig for coal to fuel the fires to forge
the steel and iron into bolts and nuts, trowels and pruning-
hooks. The moon sees the ruins of Dudley Castle,
and the battlefield of Progress running red. Tonight,
it sees you, Elihu, with your walking-partner, Capern

the postman-poet. The moon shows just the poet-half
of your companion’s countenance. How is it,
it illuminates your face entire? the dreamer gazing
over ancient ruins by moonlight, searching his mind
for a poetic turn, and the blacksmith peering into
the Future’s furnace all aflame.


—Taylor Graham

The old dog barks
from somewhere in the dark.
Almost deaf, she's lost
without the sound of human voices,
footsteps, breathing.
How many times by scant moonlight
her master used to follow her,
blind through the dark,
searching for someone lost.

Look how he searches by feel
now, following the edge
of tall spring grass, searching
for a deaf dog in the dark.
The rising moon shines
just enough light,
perhaps he’ll find her.


—Taylor Graham

Three Army buddies asleep
in the old Ford, you’re driving home
on a lonely two-lane
after midnight; crest a hill

to face four headlights—two
cars in brace, a race to pass
in the blind. Glorious confluence
of high-beams

you aim dead
ahead, in between. Do you close
your eyes? Pray? The moon blinks.

second. Then, nothing but black
pavement and a solid
centerline, your headlights
pointing home.

Behind in the dark, taillights
split the difference; disappear
behind a hill. Your buddies sleep.
You’re new-moon wide awake.


Moon Dance
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

In her flowing gown
She slipped the leash of bedtime
Hurrying silently down the stars
Through the door
And out, away from her parents
The blaring TV
Only the stars and the moon hanging above her
In the dark narrow backyard
Letting the music of the stars
Speak to her heart
She dances
Alone, alive
Under the moon


Under the Moon
—Mitz Sackman

Her feet ached
A long day at the shop
Filled with the petty drivel of retail
Dealing with customers in a hurry
Some of them quite rude
Her mind was tired
From all the meaningless chatter of the day
Who cares, she said, not me
Night had fallen
She sat in her yard under the tree
Softly singing her moon chant
Over and over, the day slipped away
She was at peace


—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

“Nobody touches the moon,”
he says, “not even you.”
But I dress in blue, reach high.

Finally, one dawn shatters the moon
filling the air with her obscure fragrance.
I catch a piece

tickle my fingertips across it
kiss the fleshy part so softly
taste it

slip it into my pocket.
Yes—the moon is good company.
I won’t go moonless again.


Today's LittleNip:

All the rains of June:
and one evening, secretly
through the pines, the moon.

—Ryota (translated by Harold Gould Henderson)