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Moon Radif Challenge: Waning Moon

All text and design © 2008, by Susan J. Erickson, Lucy Kempton, J. E. Stanley, Taylor Graham, and Gene Doty.

Night Singers

Susan J. Erickson

The mockingbird mimics the nightingale moon.
Your fingers smooth my brows beneath the Braille moon.

Open the window in the center of your chest.*
Can you hear the marsh wren sing to the frail moon?

The common loon with its rabid red eyes
will hoot and yodel at the fish scale moon.

Once Killdeer screeched at night from empty lots.
Now their ghosts haunt lovers under this fairytale moon.

When a red-crested cardinal sings at night
does it desire a Holy Grail moon?

Poor Will. Poor Will. That poignant cry in the dark.
No wonder the cow jumped over the stale moon.

The moon is ancient, but flaunts its youthful glow.
Admit it, Susan, you envy that pale moon.

* This line comes from Rumi in Coleman Barks' translation.

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Moon radif #1

Lucy Kempton

Into the night time, baskets of false starts, shredded and torn in the light of the moon.
Yet in darkness my heart's longings move toward you, love, like wind through young corn in the light of the moon.

Gentle, malevolent, sluggish and sprightly, the Old Ones, the Others, watch them all come,
Satyrs and succubi, souls of the blessed, the creatures that swarm in the light of the moon.

Moths' wings and madness, imago indigo, bleeding like cinnabar, Emperor-eyed;
Watch them through emerald, violet epiphany, their dance on the lawn in the light of the moon.

Apricot, indigo, olive, vermilion, burst on the retina, daylight shows all,
Beneath the sun colours, Iris's kingdom, but we comprehend form in the light of the moon.

Now what is that story, the one told to children, cruel, poignant, a bittersweet yarn?
The nightingale's suicide, self-immolation, her breast to the thorn in the light of the moon.

Curled up a happy grub, larva undreaming, munching and basking, tomorrow unknown;
Chocolate and fullness, comfort and pink wine, sheltered and warm in the light of the moon.

Glamourous evening clothes, sequins and velvet, satin decollete, black crepe de chine,
Bag them and bin them, life's for the day now, they'll never be worn in the light of the moon.

Strength can be stolen by thieves in the night time, watch out for Delilahs and philistines all,
Samson woke dully, sexually sated, his dread locks all shorn by the light of the moon.

World steeped in violence, the hart's cry is final, hopeless, valiant, we flinch, turn away . . .
Yet still in a forest glade, mercury-silvered, steps out a young fawn in the light of the moon.

Lay it on Lucifer, blame it on Satan, matchless in Heaven, ablaze like the sun,
Serpent's tooth, sulphur breath, feathers of angels, fallen forlorn in the light of the moon.

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Lunaticus (in D Minor)

J. E. Stanley

With steel and fire, we fly to the moon.
Apollo reveals a new sky from the moon.

Lunar depths house the machinery of gods
in this vast cosmic storm whose true eye is the moon.

Artemis unleashes the arrows of Fate.
With the blood of her prey, she baptizes the moon.

The river returns variations of night.
In untempered song, it reprises the moon.

Lilith would promise you undying life
through venom and lust. She trades lies with the moon.

With no light of its own, it survives each eclipse
while prophets predict the demise of the moon.

Its origin debated, a mystery, unknown;
only I know the how and the why of our moon.

The poet is lost, seduced once again
by the unadorned flash of white thigh 'neath the moon.

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So Many Years of Moons

Taylor Graham

A farm-boy who knows every phase of moon
is speechless with a girl under this moon.

That long summer when I turned twelve, I slept
each night under stars and a changing moon.

Sleepless shards strike windowpane and mirror.
What dreams come under brittle light of moon?

Two lovers swear by all the stars above.
Who knows if lovers lie? the Honey Moon.

One lantern at a doorstep, glimpsed through dark,
winks round and welcoming as a full moon.

Old Dog wakes in the middle of the night.
“Where am I?” she barks, “and where is the moon?”

The porch light’s off, the lawn’s aglow. Is this
newly-fallen snow, or the Long-Night Moon?

A curved blade hangs over the morning star —
here’s Venus come to meet her crescent moon.

Never trust a silver face smiling down;
you’ll find it’s nothing but the waning moon.

Come outside, look up and see the bright night
eclipsed. Our earthly shadow blocks the moon.

Magnet or magician, midnight mocker —
who wouldn’t make myth of a Harvest Moon?

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