POEM to the MOON
They landed on that sacred space. And it was dust beneath their feet, hard rock, no water. The photos came out grey. But they could see the blue earth – looking perfect, which it wasn’t – above them. They could leap across the craters. Prodigious! Men don’t always love the moon. Not so far back, men’s bombers tracked the silvery line of the Thames, and women prayed for darkness. But wind back centuries, still, there it hung. Erasmus Darwin and the Lunar Men trudged out each full moon night to talk Enlightenment. And every month young girls in country towns put on their finery for the winter dance, walked home below that speckled moon. And marriages were sealed beneath its light. Children engendered. Look up, the moon is either white or gold; squint, but you won’t perceive the tiny footprints, nor flags, nor men’s machinery. Our forebears looked up, in blackouts, power cuts, devastation, and, I believe, felt some relief to see that imperfect moon shed some weak light through darkness.
Merryn Williams was the founding editor of The Interpreter’s House. Her latest publication is The Fragile Bridge: New and Selected Poems (Shoestring Press).