One humid August night the moon hung
on a string held by a single star
in a sky gone suddenly black.
The night felt as though
all the fight had gone out of it—
the day so long and quarrelsome.
The tired moon hung—
half a moon—facing homeward
as we drove in our quiet car
in the direction it pointed,
over the quiet freeway—
it was that late.
The hot night shone
as though swept clean of something.
Our talk was slow,
as though even this late hour
dwindled out of enough meaning
to go any further with words.
“Is it all
one of us asked. And one of us said,
“Yes.” And one of us said, “No.”
And the mobile moon
did not sway—not even a little bit.
we planted the avocado tree; you dug
the hole by the half light of the moon.
I wore my white sweater, standing by
with folded arms until you needed
the water. Then I turned the hose on
while you held the tree steady.
I picked up the shovel and lifted the
heavy dirt around. And when we put
our arms around each other’s waist,
you told me you liked my perfume.
The moon comes up each night and floats
across the sky;
I am that sleepless one who stares
and marvels why.
The full moon leaves me wandering
the mind’s abyss
where I explore my restless thoughts—
that endless list.
The curving moon that holds a star
can leave me sad—
mock all those ‘dreams-come-true’ times that
I never had.
Alas, for all those ‘dark-moon’ nights
when life enshrouds—
those nights that let no moonlight through
night’s heavy clouds.
THE STREET LIGHT
The street light serves for the moon—so
low in the sky it glows through the window.
It is always full—a bright watch-light
for this shadowy corner of the night.
Sounds illuminate with recognition—
song or sigh? No sky is farther away than
any reach of mind in this proximity—
low enough to make an aura of wellbeing,
till dawn turns if off—just like the moon.
A MOCKERY OF MOONS
After Frederick Childe Hassam, “July Night”, 1898
Six moons made of balloons
float through the dim garden.
Six balloons of orange and green
hang and sway from the branches.
A leafy sound in the dimness
flickers against the shadows.
A lone woman walks with thoughts
that glint like fireflies.
Maybe someone is watching her—
maybe no one is there.
She is only a silhouette
in the weak light from the porch.
The moon floats alone in the winter sky,
takes no notice of the six balloons.
The woman wears a light evening shawl,
wanders slowly toward the porch.
An orange moon lists in the left corner
of the sky. Off to the right an ecstatic
blue ghost is dancing to the moon.
Waves of sound become visible,
like a dark rainbow. Dreams are not
of the mind, nor yet of the soul—
the dream in-between, becoming.
The blue ghost is made of air
and light from the moon.
Such is the power of moonlight.
WHITE MOON, WHITE OWL
In time we suffer the old consequences of desire.
All is lost among the observations of the view.
Alienations meet in secret under the dark window.
A white owl watches from the darkness of the dying tree.
The moon is careless moving through such branches.
The sky is torn as well, and is hanging in shreds.
Through the grieving window we watch the struggling
moon. Our breath catches in fear, in frantic sympathy.
We are caught in the old entanglements of our own.
The stricken moon and the owl’s white eye are one.
If the moon can be destroyed by our imagination,
how can we ever be safe from the dying of our love.
OH, SLEEPING MOON
Red sky of sunset fiery with light afloat in a dream
transformed from one image to another
You have become a curve of shadow
white birds are asleep in the tree tops
The red glow stays
a whirlwind forms beneath you
Your dream betrays you
you open your hand to a last piece of burning light
On my island are places I won’t go:
the hole in the middle, the edge that fits the bay.
Another long night wears away.
Another full moon wanes.
The world seems made of broken window panes.
Life cannot swim . . . death cannot float;
how can I leave . . . there is no boat.
It’s the only land I know.
IMAGES OF WHITE
After Cover Painting: The Falcon by Michael P. Berman
from Groom Falconer Poems by Norman Dubie
holding the white moon to his genitals,
the mute savant wishes a look could reach…
holding a white dove to her heart,
a loveless woman wishes her heart could cure…
holding a white fire to its mind
a stillborn soul wishes its life could melt…
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for her lovely artwork and for all these wonderful moon poems! She says, ”Moons of Summer, or is it Summer Moons, I don't know/all I know is it is Summer, and the moons glow... (an impromptu poem... just came to me as I was starting to list the titles and noticed all the moons I had in them.... I understand I also get a Full Moon for my Birthday Number Ninety Three... how cool is that!" Happy birthday (yesterday), Joyce, and thanks for cultivating our Moon Garden, last week’s Seed of the Week.
Our new Seed of the Week is: Are We There Yet? Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, head over to Modesto tonight, 6pm, to hear William O’Daly and Gordon Preston read at the Barkin’ Dog Grill (plus open mic). Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
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