Monday, November 4, 2013

Billy Collins' Moon

I've been reading poetry these days - Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha, some stuff by Emily Dickinson, etc. And then I discovered Billy Collins.  Garrison Keillor turned me on to Collins who was our  Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2003, and who sat in for Keillor while he was on a road tour this past summer. I love this guy! 

I painted this and went looking for a good moon poem to accompany it. I needed a break from my own ramblings. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.



The moon is full tonight
an illustration for sheet music,
an image in Matthew Arnold
glimmering on the English Channel,
or a ghost over a smoldering battlefield
in one of the history plays.

It's as full as it was
in that poem by Coleridge
where he carries his year-old son
into the orchard behind the cottage
and turns the baby's face to the sky
to see for the first time
the earth's bright companion,
something amazing to make his crying seem small.

And if you wanted to follow this example,
tonight would be the night
to carry some tiny creature outside
and introduce him to the moon.

And if your house has no child,
you can always gather into your arms
the sleeping infant of yourself,
as I have done tonight,
and carry him outdoors,
all limp in his tattered blanket,
making sure to steady his lolling head
with the palm of your hand.

And while the wind ruffles the pear trees
in the corner of the orchard
and dark roses wave against a stone wall,
you can turn him on your shoulder
and walk in circles on the lawn
drunk with the light.
You can lift him up into the sky,
your eyes nearly as wide as his,
as the moon climbs high into the night.

~ Billy Collins ~

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