Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions,
Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.
–T. S. Eliot
It is the very error of the moon,
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont
And makes men mad.
— Othello, Act 5, Scene 2
She was very beautiful, and that was only last night.
I tried to catch Her with a camera. You can’t do that. Out in the thicket and forest of my yard — a corner property that only condescendingly allows my house to stand on it — She cast shadows cut like the silhouettes
that deft artisans used to sell at fairgrounds or street markets, before electronic cleverness came to dominate peoples’ imaginations. There was a moonbow or rainbow circle about her, which the best of my photographs can barely show you.
I did not want to go back inside, but I couldn’t think what I ought to do about a moon like that. In some past era when people didn’t save reverence for dusty, banal Sunday mornings inside drab buildings devoted to embalmed and interpreted stories, there might have been an option. There might have been people prepared to dance.
The flower heads on the lavender beside my front walk lay projected on the concrete.
I promised Her I would refuse to regard things as ordinary, especially flowers, especially clouds when they raced across the angles of the moonlight.
I say that of the Moon, and of the Earth when She speaks to me in a moment of stillness.
I wonder how many people spent the night in some bar or other, listening to bad music on the amplifiers.