The Moon

Photo by AJ Bunyard (w/moon added)

Prompt: One evening a thief visited Ryōkan's hut at the base of the mountain only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryōkan returned and caught him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryōkan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.” This story may be an interpretation of an account mentioned by Ryōkan in a haiku:

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

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Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.

—Dogen

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At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

―Rumi, A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings

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All the Sky and the Moon in It

I would have fed you moon, my love,
scoop of chilled white vanilla moon,
out of black sky, into an ice cream cone.

You would have known you are everything.
(You'd have tasted the moon.)

—Emma Skogstad

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The Moon and I

I tread on purple laurel blossoms,
Searching for the moon.
The moon is not there among the fallen blooms.
Doves are startled from magnolia trees,
Where they meant to roost tonight.
The moon is not in the branches of the dark magnolias.
A cat with nothing but its voice for a begging bowl
Asks, but I have nothing to give.
The moon is not here.
Meanwhile,
The moon –
Minding its own business –
Is not much interested in laurel blossoms,
Or magnolia trees,
Or the needs of hungry cats.
Looking up, 
Into the vastness of the empty sky,
I see the moon at last…
But only part of it.
The full sphere is mostly hidden.
Yet I am content to call
This silver crescent “the moon.”
It has other names.
In Spain it is “la luna”,
In Tibet, “dawa”.
The moon doesn’t mind what we call it.
It’s nature is neither moon
nor luna
nor dawa
nor ice cream
nor the leavings of a thief.
It knows its own way.
I know it will be back tomorrow. 

Donna Dechen Birdwell

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I saw the moon after my friends had spotted it, high in the pale blue sky. It was framed for me by a somewhat square of tree branches that reminded me of how a cameraman holds his fingers when roughly framing a shot he's looking at, to see if it will work. It worked.

The soft spring air brought sounds of a roofing crew laying black felt over a plywood roof, the hammering of the stapler—a familiar sound from my past. The crew was working hard past the usual quitting time, in case it rained before they could get the shingles down. I wished that I could have given them the silver moon as a bonus.

I saw the moon last Sunday night from my son's backyard, in the country, outside of the city's light pollution sphere. It was “holding water” and the planet Venus, looking like a small brilliant yacht, was anchored just off the starboard shore of the silver crescent.

The night after my son was born (at home), I wrapped him in a small blanket and went out on the deck behind our house. I pulled the blanket back and held him skyward. I looked at the moon and stars sternly and said, “This is my son. Protect and guide him. I put my trust and faith in you.”

The gods have not disappointed me. They have honored my request and given me the moon.

—Robert Porter

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A Princess in a Castle High

She's locked herself into a tower
high high above the sea
and drawn thick walls about her close
against the moon and its seduction.

Still, she cannot hold it away.
It seeps in through the barred windows
and the long tunnel of the well
where it shines up at her and seems about to speak.

On nights of the full she can hardly sleep
feeling the hiss of light, the tug
yearning to it like the waves so far below
she cannot hear their crash and pull
though, like them, she rises, jostles.

Oh, go away, she wants to say to it
what is the use of all your weeping, plucking?
and when you are joyous, you will have to feel that joy alone.

But not quite alone, in truth
because she does hear that shout of light
does clench her fist, storm with the storm
and though she tries, she cannot help but dream
and, dreaming, floats her way to sea.


Ceremony for a Moonlit Night

We cannot say it is this date
or that—the fifth of August
or the second full moon,
only, when the lake is still,
a silver plate under the silver
circle of the moon,
under the waiting stars.

Then we come
each holding in two hands
—exactly so—
a boat prepared with coping saw
and red and yellow paint,
pulled from its hiding place
for such as night as this.

Each child ties the sail,
lights the candle at the back,
and out the vessels go,
bearing their frail light into the dark.

Sarah Webb

1 comment:

Jane Smith said...

Emma,
That is one of the most beautiful, haunting love poems I haver read.
Jane Smith