Discussion by Malcolm Guite, artwork by Linda Richardson
Here is the poem set for the 2nd December in my Advent Anthology from Canterbury Press Waiting on the Word, The Moons comes from Grevel Lindop’s latest collection of poems Luna Park (which I highly recommend!) and is used with his permission.
You can read my brief essay on this beautiful poem in Waiting on the Word, and click on either the title or the ‘play button below to hear me read it. Linda Richardson writes about her image:
‘Here it is, distant gleam on the page of a book.’ These final words were the ones that jumped out for me as I responded to this poem, and also Malcolm’s comment, ‘offered to a companion in the darkness of our common journey’. So my starting point was night time, the soul’s time, when light gleams through our consciousness in dreaming. The poem spoke to me of memory and the sharing of life with someone, not the immediacy of sense experience. To paint a moonlight image was too immediate so I let the words literally gleam in white ink on black paper. In this way I felt that it was keeping the integrity of the poem, that our memories are uniquely our own, and we will recall them either for enriching or impoverishing our lives and the lives of those who are on our common journey.I noticed that it was she who saw and brought him to seeing. It was the feminine leading the masculine away from the desk of the intellect, to step out into the dark womb of the night and to apprehend a phenomenon of nature, the wonder of the reflected light of the sun at night. I am left with the wonder of the contrasts in our lives, the light and dark, the male and female, all the many different parts that form one body and one spirit.
The Moons by Grevel Lindop
Too many moons to fill an almanac:
the half, the quarters, and the slices between
black new and silvercoin full –
pearl tossed and netted in webs of cloud,
thread of light with the dull disc in its loop,
gold shaving afloat on the horizon of harvest –
How many times did you call me from the house,
or from my desk to the window, just to see?
Should I string them all on a necklace for you?
Impossible, though you gave them all to me.
Still some of their light reflects from memory.
Here it is, distant gleam on the page of a book.