Now that August’s Perseid meteor shower is just a memory, it’s time to turn our attention to Earth’s beautiful little-sister-planet, the Moon.
The Perseids brought out an unprecedented “storm” of fine meteor poems from our AWB friends and visitors; "Poetry for Perseids". Now, with International Observe-the-Moon Night (InOMN) less than a month (or a “moonth” of the year) away, I’d like to ask our readers to tap into their creativity once again, this time with the Moon in view.
I don’t think that will be difficult. After all, the Moon has been a strong source of inspiration to poets ever since the days of Homer, who wrote in The Iliad: "As when in heaven the stars about the moon/Look beautiful..." Moon-poetry was fine-tuned in 17th-century Japan, when the inventors of the haiku form of poetry taught their nation how to keenly observe nature and distill what they saw into 17 meaningful syllables. The Japanese poet Shirao had the September Moon in mind when he wrote:
Rising Harvest Moon
From this hut as yet unwalled
I will view it well.
Japan’s Matsuo Basho, the most revered of the classic haiku-masters, wrote, “Before the light that things give off dies in the heart, it must be expressed.” I like to think of astropoets as simply expressing the “light” that is already there, not inventing it. Like telescopes, they gather, reflect, and magnify what is around (and within) them. So, I urge you to go out and experience the night, keep your mind open for whatever strikes you as interesting, and when a fresh idea comes to you, jot something down about it as soon as possible so you won’t forget it—then refine your thought into a poem later. That’s what I did, for example, one evening on a walk with my wife, Laura, when the moon was low in the west and the city lights had overwhelmed the stars:
So low, so lonely,
Bereft of planets and stars,
The Moon walks with us.
So, while the August Moon is still in the late-night sky and as the new Harvest Moon is born, let our sister-planet inspire you and let us publish and share your inspiration. The Astropoetry blog is waiting! Send in your contributions to: [email protected]
- Bob Eklund, Astropoetry Blog Editor