Friday, February 6, 2015

Moonchild



Moonchild





In the moon and in the night
and in my secrets I was born.
Not in the morning rain, the blasting grey,
not  in the deadspace between the end of wars
and Endless War.
No, it was night, eternal night
tropical, of silent birds and gathering grasses,
that haloed round my denim figured cradle.

There I first heard the fireflies
scratching at the door,
there watched your fingers quicken
as ligaments of iguanas clack their claws
skittering cross a maze of key-coloured stones,
coaxing out the asymmetric dance--there,
when the moon was a melting blob
discarded from the candle-batch,

sinking as extravagant dawn
laughed another vow she couldn't keep,
lipsticked and wrapped
in purple-orange chemise,
undressed soon enough to naked slate
as night completes
its locust-rasp of snow and cloud
made insect brief.

Inside, the fire crackles a millennium after,
like fingers walking over a
brittle rustle of paper faces, quick-
covered by the mirror before another's 
wick-lit eye can truly see
who it is that holds them thrall
in shine and flicker, 
above a winter moon handmade to fall.





~February 2015 






posted for    real toads









Challenge: Kumulipo
"The "Kumulipo" is an old Hawaiian prayer chant that poetically describes the creation of the world. The word literally means "beginning-in-deep-darkness." Here darkness doesn't connote gloom and evil. Rather, it's about the inscrutability of the embryonic state; the obscure chaos that reigns before germination." 










Image: the Snake Charmer, 1907, by Henri Rousseau
Public Domain via wikiart.org 
Pardon me for re-using this favorite image, but it was the one in my mind when this poem came through.


27 comments:

  1. I keep re-reading the last stanza. It is stunning in its word crafting and visual urgings! Thank you!

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  2. I am clapping and have to declare this one as my favorite! Bravo, Joy- I gasped a bit when reading it. Both of my poems have words that you used-I was reading a book and decided to go with my night walks, adoring the moon. I started working on it when I first woke. Yours has this haunted fairy tale feel-which I adore. I love so many lines-but the last one glorious shined brightest, for me. I made art using the moon and denim-so your poem became more real to me.
    http://ellasedge.blogspot.com/2014/04/avant-edge-sams-challenge.html

    Visual stunning~

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  3. Hey Hedge--this travels quite far and wide and temporally too, but I felt reading it that the moon child was addressing the "you" as creator/writer, and you described the arc of a creation conceived in the darkness of night, the jungle brain--then the firefly neurons at work, and the fingers tapping out the key-colored stones, the excitement of the morn--I particularly liked the description of that floozy dawn! --and then the kind of discomfort that comes afterwards--the colder silence--when others are reading wicklit--it is a hard journey for sure--and whatever one does is certainly handmade to fall, and maybe even a handmaid of falling--but surely worthwhile! As here! I laughed at the denim cradle. Oh but that dawn and her false promises--but surely some are kept! Thanks! k.

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    1. I don't know if I was clear at all, I felt like this was the poem talking back! Ha! A very articulate poem! k.

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    2. Thanks, k--the poem speaks through us, and in us, and for us. If you can even figure out who is speaking, it's all good. Birth, and what marks us out--it's all a metaphor, isn't it?

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  4. What a journey from the night.. that darkness smooth as velvet.. through a dawn of iguana knuckles .. such great images you weave into this tapestry of words... and that last stanza.. yes this is the birth of poetry.

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  5. " when the moon was a melting blob
    discarded from the candle-batch"

    I adore that.

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  6. watched your fingers quicken
    as ligaments of iguanas clack their claws
    skittering cross a maze of key-coloured stones,
    coaxing out the asymmetric dance--............what magic you weave with your words.

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  7. Wowzers, this is absolutely brilliant.

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  8. if my poem talked to me
    if would not be either as bright
    nor as dark

    namaste
    jzb

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  9. No, it was night, eternal night
    tropical, of silent birds and gathering grasses,
    that haloed round my denim figured cradle.

    Love these lines Joy! It is always the nights accompanied with silent darkness that will help to inspire! Wonderful write!

    Hank

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  10. cool closing line...the winter fall play there....
    i love how alive you make the night as well which is what only
    one born to night can truly hear and appreciate...even the tiny
    as firefly wings....

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  11. So gorgeous...I am a bit of a moon child myself. So many hours of my life I felt it was my only friend. Love the ending..

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  12. Phew! This is just amazing! A full meal of moon-time, birth, inspiration and a testament to the creative process.

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    1. Thank you Kerry. You totally get it, and I appreciate it.

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  13. Yes, the image is a great kick-starter, and the poem goes through its proscenium along several streams: there is a Rousseau going native out of hearing of the guns of August; a Stevens wintering in Florida's venereal soil; and out of that the poet's reverie in the nursery of night, as a "moon-child" (remember that tune from "Court of the Crimson King," its my fave on that disc), wandering in the half-light of a full-moon into realms only half in or of this light, like an amphibian who exists on either side of a liminal shore. Only there -- precarious as it is -- in "eternal night" is the speaker safe from "endless war," the damage and limitations and endless disappointments of the day. ("Extravagant dawn" sounds like the actual mothering, full of "vows" "she couldn't keep.") That sweet night seems a long time ago in the final stanza, where fire is a requisite defense against a bitter winter's night (and the age of its season)--yet something holds forth there, in defense of the moonchild's song, even though flames are paper faces and the moon is "handmade to fall." We mustn't ever forget that the moonchild needs our mothering, must be somehow safe no matter where we write. Or how cold the winter night ...

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    1. Court of the Crimson King! Such a guy song--played during so many 70's routs and high-a-thons--fondly remembered, even if I have the hearing damage to prove it. Thanks for the kind reading, B--I took a bit of a knock about this poem from another reader yesterday who seems to think I am drowning of late in darkness, angst and self-doubt(!) which is not the case, and glad to see that you can tell by the taste of the salt in these waters that they are of birthing and not tears. Good catch on the vows--as in the Neil Young song, 'promise of a man,' which can be very difficult to come by and not always comfortable, but rock-like and when truly pledged can be grasped, unlike the fluid wax and wane transience of the female. And yes, it is all about protecting the voice of the moon. Much appreciated.

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    2. Geez I didn't know "Court" was so roundly and loudly played, just a half-decade before my time, I guess, by the time I got to it it was relical. Seems I discovered all of my fave bands after they broke up ... Back when you could find LPs discounted in the stacks at the Record Barn. ... Your reader's distaff comment may have a lot with the way one listens to that drifting middle section of "Moonchild" -- moonlight may be melancholy -- bittersweet -- but some of us feed on that like soul food.

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    3. 'The black queen chants
      the funeral march,
      The cracked brass bells will ring;
      To summon back the fire witch
      To the court of the crimson king....' they just don;t write em like that any more. ;_) well, actually some heavy metal bands do try, but there's a bit more elegance to King Crimson. Yes, much played, though I don't know how much really appreciated by me at the time--I was still very much a folkie, and 'prog rock' and the jazzy-symphonic feel of that album, like a cross between Jethro Tull, the Zep and Moody Blues,were not things I tuned in to then as I am able to now. I was very lucky to have so much music in my life--that was not chosen by me, I mean--the grinding sound of the tv(except maybe early MTV) was never heard for at least two decades in our house--thankfully.

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    4. If you ever get the chance, listen again to "Moonchild" -- well --

      http://youtu.be/Q7F4izvq0YU

      Very different vibe than the cover song or "21st Century Schizoid Man." Fripp's guitar goes wayyyyyy out there. And where you get deposited I think is loded with rich silver moonlight. Waking and walking out there, who would want to return?

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    5. That is indeed some wild,contemplative guitar, and you can hear the classical influence--those notes winding through space and time...I'm more of a lyric person so what sticks with me is that last verse.

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  14. My takeaway here is that our individual being, and the forces that define us are really far removed from just the temporal and finite experiences we undergo. Alas, we are all so much more complex and inscrutable than even our closest associates can imagine and understand! And the same principle applies to the creative impulse. Where does it come from? A place of darkness, seeking light? Who knows. Very well framed and in a sense that resonates well with me.
    Steve K.

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    1. Indeed, Steve. Night is in many ways more revealing of those forces than day, as we populate it rather through imagination than observation. The voice that speaks from that very primal darkness is not about negation, but about possibility, about what will be brought into the light. Thanks so much for your generous reading.

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  15. Seriously, who are you, Hedgewitch woman? Myth, master, moon goddess? Wow.

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  16. "sinking as extravagant dawn
    laughed another vow she couldn't keep,"

    Adore that line. To find comfort and security in the darkness of night - and the moon. As nice as the sun feels, when walking on a brightly moonlit night - one feels so alive… It's hard to explain, but this poem reaches for that intimacy. And of course, succeeds.

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  17. Wow, Hedgewitch, I totally believe this! It's Rasp and rustle from the dark of a handmade free- falling moon. A secret reversal of sorts occurs when you take the discard and the bits and pieces into the darkness and transform them into whole and naked truth.

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  18. not in the deadspace between the end of wars
    and Endless War.

    no, not then, either. you explore so vividly the interstices and chasms we all walk in, yet blithely ignore. brilliant ~

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg