One night as Dick lay half asleep,
Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep
From out the silent skies.
It was the lovely moon's, for when
He raised his dreamy head,
Her surge of silver filled the pane
And streamed across his bed.
So, for a while, each gazed at each --
Dick and the solemn moon --
Till, climbing slowly on her way,
She vanished, and was gone.
- Walter de la Mare (“Full Moon”)
Nothing in the world would have inspired poetry as much as the moon. The moon has been glorified, romanticized, symbolised, mythologized and victimized by lovers world over. The moon has been made a messenger between young lovers, a witness to love’s solemn pledges, a partner in love’s little trespasses, a conspirer in love’s little surprises, a mediator that sorts out lovers’ tiffs and the eternal pacifier when all of love’s labour’s lost. For ages now, the moon has been listening to the yearnings, sorrows, complaints and reprimands of lovers and sometimes even held responsible for love’s frivolous and not-so-frivolous truancies.
Poems about the moon, however, do not always revolve around romance. Sometimes the moon herself is the mother and sometimes the Divine Mother. Though the moon is almost always a she (a fair woman, a maiden, Mrs. Moon, a little old lady…and so on), it has been referred to as a he also though not often. Then there is also the crazed moon, the cruel moon, the hooded moon, the sad moon, the cold moon and the merciless moon along with the fair moon, the bright moon and the beautiful moon…
Surprisingly the moon has also been …hold your breath…the celestial onion, a sheet of paper and a saucer of dusty milk. What’s more, the moon has been a jewel for many a maiden’s hair, a motif, a lamp in the air, a sailing ship and sometimes just a yellow thing.
Let me confess, The Half-Moon is my way of mooning over the moon. By the way, this is an honest poem. That night the moon was just half. It was midnight. The French door was half open. The drapes were fluttering. And I was drowsily watching the moon.
Sailing across half the night
The half-moon peeps
Through the half-open French window,
Fluttering drapes throw gentle shadows
Across my half of the bed
And paint a featured half-wall of light and shade -
A slideshow of wanton dreams.
I lie half asleep, or half awake,
Like the night’s simmering embers,
Half unspent, half unleashed.