what’s in a name?

This weekend sees the last full moon of the year and, once more, the papers are full of articles about supermoons.

I was wondering why no-one ever bothered about such things when I was a child, and then I happened upon this page on the time and date website, which says the term wasn’t coined until 1979, when astronomer Richard Nolle first used it.
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unawares

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.
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squaring the circle

The problem with taking photos at a classic car gathering is not just the hordes of people who jostle your elbow or wander absent-mindedly into the frame.

Even when you get there before anyone else, there are far too many polished surfaces: you end up as the main feature of at least half the pictures you take, which might not be quite so bad if the surfaces didn’t act as distorting mirrors.

Another problem is that too many of the cars there are altogether too familiar and you start to reminisce…
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three for the price of one

Statue of Hamlet with Yorick's skull

I’ve been stuck indoors most of the week with a stinking cold, so haven’t had the chance to go looking for inspiration for things to write, and I haven’t taken any any serendipitous photos.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a poem about the common cold, and my head is too fuzzy to write one now, which means I’ve been racking my brains all day about what to post.

Then I remembered this photo of Hamlet. Although we all know he is actually about to break into speech – “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio…” – he looks as uninspired as I have been feeling.

At one point, I thought that would have to do for today, but, on the off-chance I’d find some ideas, I went on clicking link after link.
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the poet’s voice

Sometimes the sky seems solid: there are no thoughts; no words; no voice. Sometimes there seems to be no poet.

Aphonia

I have lost my voice.
The murmur of the traffic is enough
to drown the sound of my ideas. Star grit,
like broken oyster shells, embeds itself
in my soft palate and I choke
on smoky clouds as I aspire
to the feathered tops of pine trees.

The moon dissolves,
a luminescent coughdrop,
liquid on my tongue.

 

poppies

Thatched-roofed, timbered cottage with poppies at the gate

 
I don’t suppose these giant orange poppies are indigenous to the UK, and I certainly can’t imagine they grew in the Forest of Arden, which once surrounded the area where the photo was taken.

Even so, the straggling clump by the gate of this traditional thatched cottage was utterly glorious and deserved a better photo than I could manage with my phone.
 
 
 
This morning when I went out I had my camera with me:

Giant poppy close up
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moon magnetism

midsummer moon

Is there a poet in the land
who can resist that moon, those stars,
who is not sitting, pen in hand
recounting how love leaves her scars?

[…]

Enraptured by the moon’s bright light,
I, too, am writing poems tonight.

 

(Well, I was, some 15 years ago, which is when those lines originated as part of a tetrameter sonnet with heavy end stopping and extraordinarily unimaginative rhymes. The worst thing about learning more about poetry is that I try and write fewer bad poems and end up just writing less.)