unawares

Leamington Spa Pump Rooms by moonlight.

I miss living en el pueblo, where the skies were clear for so much of the year and I was always aware of the phase of the moon.

There, unless it was full moon, I had to remember to carry a torch to walk back from the village if I was coming home after dark. The Milky Way stretched high across the dark dome of the sky and we saw plenty of shooting stars even when there was no talk in the news of meteor showers.

Apparently we just had a full moon – actually the harvest moon – on September 16th. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but happened to be out on Thursday evening and caught it in the photo, where it must be just coming up to full.

Looking back through my files of poems, I find I am not the only one who is not always aware of what’s happening with the moon.

Eclipsed

She slips between the bedroom curtains,
steals across the floor and peeks
into the bathroom.

Steam
hangs in the air above
a crumpled towel.
Methodically, she checks
the other rooms in turn.

She runs
her fingertips along the shelves,
frowns at the dust, reflects
he’s not exactly what you’d call
domestic.

By mid afternoon,
she’s in the kitchen where she finds
a pile of coffee cups and plates
stagnating on the draining board.
She watches as milk curdles
and bread turns to dust.

She leaves
before the boy gets home, so
can only guess about the evenings
when a star-specked sky provides
the backdrop for his romance
with the moon.

It’s been pointed out to me that making the sun a female character is slightly confusing for those of us brought up with the “Brother Sun and Sister Moon” of St Francis, but the poem started when I noticed how critical the sun seemed to be, and how determined to peer into every corner and highlight every last domestic deficiency. Perhaps I’m fortunate, but I’ve never met a man who did that.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

4 thoughts on “unawares”

  1. Brother Francis probably made the sun male and the moon female because sol is masculine and luna feminine in Latin and languages descended from Latin. In Germanic languages, including Old English, the genders are reversed, so it would not be unnatural for a well-informed English-speaker to reverse the sexes when personifying.

    Do you need both “methodically” and “in turn”, or is one of them redundant? The poem is otherwise excellent.

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    1. The fact is, though, that both the sun and the moon are female in this poem. I’m not sure what that indicates.

      I suspect you’ve queried “methodically […] in turn” before and I disagreed. Now I am less bothered by the idea of losing one of them. This suggests that a period of some 15 years may actually provide sufficient mental distance for me to be able to revise my poems. Considering how little new writing I’m doing, this may be a Good Thing.

      Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.

      Like

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