Thursday, October 05, 2006

THE MOON'S FULL BODY

There is something about a poet who can share the moon with the reader in a way to make her gasp, sigh, or cry that makes me fall in love. I admit it openly...sentimental though it may be, the moon as a cliche. I don't care. I will read that poem anyway. I will devour it. I will carry it close to me. I will catch myself repeating phrases from it over and over again the way some people do with lyrics from a favorite song.

This week, I am thinking of New Mexico and Natalie Goldberg and everything my month's worth (a full cycle of the moon) of time studying there taught me. I am nostalgic, wishing for the light on the Sangre de Cristos and the way Autumn looks on the mesa...so far from where I am now as to be a whole different world. A bittersweet longing hits and I wonder if I will make it back to sit beneath a cottonwood tree and dodge the mangy packs of wild street dogs in the alleys. It's almost like a broken heart...the land, my unrequited lover scented with sagebrush and echoing the calls of magpies...all of which Natalie would strike through with her ball-point pen, pleading for the writer here to "use fresh images"...such a resident of that place, the things that are foreign to me have become (in many ways) tired debris to her.

Racing Toward Santa Fe, 1984, Natalie Goldberg


Another poet, artist, dreamer I love with strong ties to New Mexico is Joy Harjo, whose writing I have mentioned before. Her poem, "September Moon", has been singing to me all week--feeding me--whispering out of my mind in random moments. I share it here because it stirs up something for my love of the moon's full body...that calm witness to our shadowed lives.

September Moon

Last night she called and told me
about the moon over San Francisco Bay.
Here in Albuquerque it is mirrored
in a cool, dark Sandia sky.
The reflection is within all of us.
Orange, and almost the harvest
moon. Wind and the chill of the colder
months coming on. The children and I
watched it, crossing San Pedro and Central
coming up from the state fair.
Wind blowing my hair was caught
in my face. I was fearful of traffic,
trying to keep my steps and the moon was east,
out of any skin that was covering her.
Naked.
Such beauty.
Look.
We are alive. The woman of the moon looking
at us, and we looking at her, acknowledging
each other.

--Joy Harjo, 1983--


Since the moon's abundance is full tomorrow, I will offer another set of lines...though, following Harjo is impossible...These words are mine, an old draft of a poem I wrote six years ago on Hatteras Island, after a couple of seaside hours watching the moon, nursing my infant son, and finding my way back into poetry after a two year hiatus...

Tomorrow night, the moon will be full here where I scribble my thoughts...there, where you might read them or write your own. Full on the Cape Hatteras dunes, and...yes...full over New Mexico and my silver memory-scape.
Link

14 Comments:

Blogger Susannah said...

i was watching the moon last night - and i can feel my lunar madness kicking in just before the full moon. it always amazes me how our bodies synch in. i always seem to ovulate on full moons - weird.

your poem is as beautiful as you, my dear friend. i've missed you while i was away - an email will be winging its way to you shortly :-)
Lx

12:25 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

The last full moon cycle made me a nut. It pulled up all my aggressive power and put me in touch with my anger...

This time, I am feeling more dreamy... Your poem is perfect for my state of mind. Thank you. It is beautiful.

ox :)

1:11 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

i'm a fan of the moon as well...and new mexico...i was born in new mexico so it's in my blood...everytime i go for a visit and i breathe the desert air i feel as if i've come home...and maybe i have...and i'm also a big fan of joy harjo...love her...she touches the wild woman in me...

2:31 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I love the moon too, especially at this time of year. I've not written enough poetry about her, but maybe I will now after reading your post! Thanks.

2:39 PM  
Blogger bb said...

I love how you start your poem with that single standing I, and everything else drips down from there, and I so admire that you can write about the moon Delia. I have tried but only cliches fall, perhaps the right (write?) time is coming soon.

3:45 PM  
Blogger January said...

Yes, the moon was so bright last night--your picks this week are timely, so to speak.

Love this line from your poem: "Birthing the day's end with a quiet beauty
The sun has yet to learn of..."

Just beautiful.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Denise Altman said...

As a poetry nut and lover of moon observation, I truly enjoyed this post. Your imagery is beautiful.

8:35 AM  
Blogger twitches said...

I lurve Joy Harjo. You poem stands up well to hers, and that's a compliment!

7:14 PM  
Blogger harmonyinline said...

reading your poem makes the moon seem even more beautiful

7:57 PM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

Oooooo I loved all of these :)

Yes and the full moon is so romantic, hence why I posted words of love today....that's what the moon does to me...it makes me feel like cuddling ;-)

happy weekend sweetie~~~I'll be thinking Moon thoughts for you...Hmmmm maybe it will inspire some good writing.

Love to you,
XxDarlene

12:17 AM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

when i stop by and read your words...i feel as though i am sitting across from you at a cafe and we are sharing a pot of tea and you are telling me the most wondrous stories...sharing pieces of who you are. and i nod and smile and say, "yes, yes, i understand."
thank you for that.

your poem is beautiful.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous slynne said...

I love how you've taken a cliche and freshened it. There is nothing cliche about the poetry you shared this week

7:30 PM  
Blogger mike taylor said...

Beautiful poem. It has been raining for a couple of days in South Jersey. I was looking forward to the pale light over the marshes. Thank you for the verse.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

I love the Albuquerque poem!!!

San Pedro and Central is forever etched into my mind as the corner of the fairgrounds, but also as the place there is a Walgreens that is always full of guys swigging out of paper bag-covered bottles and panhandling for change at the stop light.

I was born under the Harvest moon in Albuquerque. It certainly is beautiful the way it rises behind the Sandias.

4:49 AM  

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