Moon poems

Poets always write about moons. And why not? It (she?) hangs there provocatively rather asking to be written about. There are an awful lot of good moon poems, and I thought I’d post a series. It is provoked in part by a list John Mullan included in the Guardian a while back. I can’t fault his choice of Shelley’s ‘To the Moon’, or ‘Sad Steps’ by Philip Larkin, but I do wonder about choosing Joyce’s moon poem from Chamber Music (which if it were by someone else would be admitted as an awful poem, notable only for the word ‘plenilune’) and a whole play by Shakespeare, which seems a little rich, without any Yeats at all. Here anyway is his list, with admittedly some fine choices on it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oct/24/ten-best-moon-poems-review

Still I think there are better ones out there. As I feel like it every so often I’ll add another moon poem. This wonderful piece by Elizabeth Bishop comes from North and South (1946) :

Insomnia

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never, smiles)
far and away beyond sleep,
or perhaps she’s a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she’d tell it to go to hell,
and she’d find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow
as the sea is now deep, and you love me.

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~ by thebicyclops on October 7, 2010.

One Response to “Moon poems”

  1. Beautiful.

    To verbally paint the moon, to capture its allure with the written word is often as successful as grasping at its (her?) silvery tendrils. Yet there are a few who manage to do so (as you noted above)…but so many more of us who can’t seem to find the right words to convey that magical feeling one gets when staring up at that wonder of the night sky.

    Oh the mystery of the moon! Is it any wonder that it still captivates us today?

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