Sunday, March 9, 2008

Staring at the moon

A few minutes ago I saw the new moon, a tiny silver paring reclining on her back, straight out over the garden. Since then the clouds have thickened and the rain is now lashing the window. The new moon represents good luck to me, although perhaps luck is a mistaken word for it - luck doesn't draw the tides in and out. For all the power associated with a full moon, it's the perennial renewal of the bare sliver that inspires me.

Of course technically the moon was new on Friday night, only then there was nothing to see. Perhaps if I could never see the moon, if I weren't aware of the cyclical dance in the sky, I would feel no effect from it. I don't really think it matters whether I would or not: she's there as my point of reference, an exterior anchor in my overly-internalised world, humbling but affirming. Sometimes my thoughts feel like narration in a book, and what I see seems like the view through the windows of my eyes. I'm half asleep, a ghost haunting my body rather than living in it. The new moon catches my wandering mind: along with the energy to start afresh comes the realisation that a lifetime's moons are numbered. They are not infinite, and this gives them their value and their power.

The skull and the hourglass that have been emblems of fear to me for so long should really be friends, helping to count out the hours and thereby provide them with their energy. I have always privileged the universal, the timeless and the general, but all they consist of is massed ranks of the personal, the present and the individual. It is impossible and unnecessary to run away into immortal abstractions: the everyday present, and the usual two-legged human existence that everybody else thrives in, is more real. Shivers and sighs and yelps underpin the most elegant metaphor. The comfort of a full stomach, a good night's sleep and a shared bed are as much to be prized as any intellectual achievement. It's just yet another oddness of mine that I have to stare at the moon to work all this out.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

That very same moon I was looking at last night; 1 revolution of the earth after you having admired it. I saw it from France - perhaps more of a segment than a sliver by then. But the same moon, witnessed from a different country and by a different person. By all countries and all people in fact, if they'd chosen to notice. More people should look at the moon, and think a little.

Nicely written Emily, as usual. Glad the words are flowing again!

Fog Patches. said...

With regard to your opening line; have you read the poems of Mervyn Peake?

EB said...

Ooh, just seen this last comment - and no, I haven't! I will hunt them down.