When did the starlight happier seem than now? The evening’s quiet, when so full of peace? How does heaven seem so near to me Now, when I have wished away my heart?
Why has the night so sober been? Why has my mind been reason’s moon? That this poor sun has felt so long a night The bark of last year’s growth has now unveiled A green and stripling age of mind; Eloping with this redder, browner blaze Of hopeful, living love.
The two paintings above are by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882). His model, who he considered his muse, and who later became his wife, was Elizabeth Siddal (1829 – 1862).
At such a sight As the moon at night So high, so bright My thoughts take flight The sheer delight Of its vibrant white Its pungent bite Some day might Emit its light To end my plight Leaving me quite Without foresight Indeed contrite
When Hopkins gloried in dappled things He must have thought of angels’ wings Of gossamer and cuckoo spit Of candles flicker-lit
As Palmer did In silent chapels In Kentish fields
Of darkening woods where sunlight hides In sheepland pastures
On downy hills
In buttercup meadows Where linnet trills
The silent raptures Of sunset light On autumn trees Where swoops the kite
And evening captures The thickening shadows
The cooling breeze Midst fields of golden rippling corn That now adorn the rustic scene
Such glory in apple blossom seen
As they, with Blake, Held in their hand Those grains of sand To wonder more How Nature’s glory Explains itself In storm And stillness In calm and frenzy Light and shade In setting sun And mounting moon
The evening’s glaze In bounteous harvest Nature’s cavalcade
In the land that love forgot lit by the light of an autumn moon Memory stirred and held a thought of those once upon a time days When roses rich with red scented days with hope Wind-strewn days with fallen apple air fresh with suckled honey When once You and I loved
smitten immersed in this infinity enamoured Longing in those autumn days Regaining in their wistful hours what summer once had brought us All now lost in time’s story But always and forever written on memory’s scroll.
Photo by Just Another Photography Dude on Pexels.com
The Moon & Sixpence
At such a sight As the moon at night So high, so bright My thoughts take flight The sheer delight Of its vibrant white Its pungent bite Some day might Emit its light End my plight Leaving me quite Without foresight Yet still contrite
All this I write So slight And yet So recondite
My life’s Sixpence I’ve almost spent It’s true I’m getting old And to my cost I’ve loved and lost My heady tale Is nearly told
For all my time The pain, the wine I’ve trod the edge
So they allege But despite the sorrow The joy and pain Nothing in vain
The theme has been I’ve lived my dream
NOTE: From ‘Wikipedia’, describing the derivation of the title for Somerset Maugham’s novel, ‘The Moon and Sixpence’, which is loosely based on the life of French artist, Paul Gauguin.
According to some sources, the title, the meaning of which is not explicitly revealed in the book, was taken from a review of Maugham’s novel Of Human Bondage in which the novel’s protagonist, Philip Carey, is described as “so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.” According to a 1956 letter from Maugham, “If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don’t look up, and so miss the moon.” Maugham’s title echoes the description of Gauguin by his contemporary biographer, Meier-Graefe (1908): “He [Gauguin] may be charged with having always wanted something else.”
Known primarily as a novelist, Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was an American writer. He published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of non-fiction. He is most famous for his darkly satirical, best-selling novel ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, published in(1969.
I do like this short poem of his which I came across only recently. Apparently it was never given a title by Vonnegut and was discovered in a letter of 1961 sent by him to a friend. It has a delightfully simple and artless warmth which engenders such good feeling and optimism.
Two little good girls Watchful and wise — Clever little hands And big kind eyes — Look for signs that the world is good, Comport themselves as good folk should. They wonder at a father Who is sad and funny strong, And they wonder at a mother Like a childhood song. And what, and what Do the two think of? Of the sun And the moon And the earth And love.
Collaborative poem – written by WHB, based on a prose description by Canadian artist, Alma Kerr, of an experience when looking, at evening time, across the waters of the Pacific, off the western coast of British Columbia . . .