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.
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.
We are alive. The woman of the moon looking
at us, and we looking at her, acknowledging
--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.