Let us talk about the moon, then... In the month of February, the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will present a wonderful, witty and erudite poet, Mari Werner (February 27, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042). For her "portrait" on the series's blog, she sent in the following poem, which is so delightful, I decided to reproduce it here as well:
by Mari Werner
A crescent moon floats above the horizon.
“You can totally see the rest of it,”
she says, as though the moon is cheating.
And the moon is cheating.
A crescent moon should be
what a crescent moon looks like
in a bedtime story illustration,
a crescent clear and simple,
no dark sphere to detract
from its perfection.
Under the smile of the crescent moon,
she sleeps in fluffy comforters,
winked upon by stars
cuddled by a curled up cat,
guarded by a sleeping dog.
That’s the bedtime story version,
but here on the surface of the planet...
you can totally see the rest of it.
In Polish children's literature, the moon is often presented as a "crescent roll" - "rogalik" - brown, well baked and tasty, neither an alien, eerie source of lunar light, casting a pall on all living things (a la "Pierrot lunaire"), nor a wasteland of rocks and dust that the astronauts have walked on. Not really a place for lunatics, either... A tamed, story-book, crescent.
On New Year's Eve 2010, over a year ago, I saw the moon differently: full, enormous, with a fuzzy halo taking over half the sky. At midnight, it crowned the horizon with its lucid glory. I saw its bluish reflections in water droplets on my rose.
"...quanta è la larghezza di questa rosa ne l’estreme foglie!" ~ Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXX
A pale light appeared behind the black ridge of the mountains. The moon floated up like a white balloon losing air, whitening the night around it. The bright halo cooled the glare of electric snowflakes on a Christmas fence, sheltering the reindeer of prickly light points and wire. The moon rose higher, the halo around it grew into a solid crown. It took over half the sky, sparkled in water droplets on the rose. Straight above our heads at midnight, it was a brilliant omen for the New Year.
the moon’s new halo
dims electric glare into calm -
As the night wore on, the intense whiteness of the moon at midnight reflected the brightness of my rose-shaped diamond brooch that could have been a heirloom, but was not. I make up my own history here, in the land of endless possibilities, so I have amassed a whole bunch of such "could have been" heirlooms. For instance, I bought my Canadian Grandma on E-bay - a portrait of her, at least. It is a gold-framed late 19th-century daguerrotype of a stern dark-haired lady with hands folded in her lap. Elegant, strong, and confident, with a lovely cameo brooch at her neck, small lace collar, and a wide skirt of a shiny brown tafetta dress - she looks like she could have been my ancestor. I'll adopt her, I thought, and clicked "buy now."
I did not buy the brooch, though, it came from my daughter's prom dress, worn once and discarded after one glorious night. I find its shiny petals a notable addition to my festive wardrobe. Like a magpie, I admire all things shiny; since I lost that platinum bracelet of real diamonds worth a couple thousand of dollars, a gift from my parents, I prefer to dazzle without the expense. I do not think any jewelrer would have loaned me those priceless gems for the Oscars. Here it is, a diamond rose sparkling in my haibun for the full moon.
"In the golden holiness of a night that will never be seen again and will never return…" ~ from a Gypsy tale
After greeting the New Year with a Chopin polonaise danced around the hall, I drove down the street of your childhood. It was drenched with the glare of the full moon in a magnificent sparkling halo. The old house was not empty and dark. On the front lawn, boys were jumping around a huge bonfire. They screamed with joy, as the flames shot up to the sky. The gold reached out to the icy blue light, when they called me to join their wild party. Sparks scattered among the stars. You were there, hidden in shadows. I sensed your sudden delight.
my rose diamond brooch
sparkles on the black velvet -
stars at midnight