Tuesday, 19 April 2011

FULL MOON IN APRIL


“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” - Carl Sandburg

The full moon on Monday ushered in the Easter holidays and Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Easter is a movable feast that is calculated within various seasonal lunar calendar constraints. Easter was an old Spring fertility festival (Eostra was the name of the Celtic Spring goddess).  It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox on the 21st of March.  The dates of all other moveable feasts are calculated in connection with the date set for Easter in that year.  If there is no full moon between the Spring equinox calculated according to the Gregorian calendar and the Spring Equinox according to the Julian calendar, then Catholic and Orthodox Easter occur at the same time (Catholic Easter being calculated according to the Gregorian calendar and Orthodox Easter being calculated according to the Julian calendar).

Full moons were very significant in the past when lunar calendars were widespread. Each full moon of the year had its special name, according to what it signified. In medieval times the full moons were named thus:
  • January: Wolf Moon
  • February: Storm (or Ice) Moon
  • March: Chaste Moon
  • April: Seed (or Egg) Moon
  • May: Hare Moon
  • June: Dyan (or Diana) Moon
  • July: Mead (or Rose) Moon
  • August: Corn Moon
  • September: Barley Moon
  • October: Blood (or Harvest) Moon
  • November: Snow Moon
  • December: Oak Moon

I was in the garden in the coldness of evening on Monday, and caught the moon as it was rising. Bats were flying around the treetops and the full moon, bright and silvery peeked through the clouds. It was a magnificent sight and I could understand how it has inspired poets, delighted lovers, kept insomniacs awake and maddened lunatics through the ages. As the nearest heavenly body to earth, the moon exerts an all-powerful influence and is an endless source of inspiration, mythology and folklore to cultures all around the world.

Here is my full moon poem for Poetry Wednesday:

The Moon Tonight

The full moon bites tonight
With red fangs and ice-cold breath
That freezes to the marrow.
Which death would you prefer:
Exsanguination or a gelid sleep
That merges with death slowly?

The full moon mocks me tonight
Through shuttered windows
Sending thin, silver pins of light.
Moonlight still pierces the heart,
Even if shades are drawn;
And death lies still, waiting in the dark.

The full moon cackles tonight
Like an old crone, a witch,
Who weaves evil spells with moonbeams.
The ancient magic catches hearts
With a silvery net, this April night
As Egg Moon waxes full.

The full moon weeps tonight
As it reflects my face gazing at it,
Finally mirroring my heart of hearts.
An old story, a lost love, sadness –
All washed with moonshine tears
And are cleansed, at last redeemed.

5 comments:

  1. Hello:
    The quotation with which you open this post has reminded us of Carl Sandburg's work which, shamefully, we have not read for too many years.

    Your final paragraph, and your poem, are both beautifully written and convey a very great sense of time and place. We have much enjoyed this mix of poetry and prose.

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  2. What a marvellous poem! It really conveys the mystery of night and the duplicity of moonlight. I liked also all the accompanying moon talk...

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  3. Lovely - and it is a beautiful egg moon tonight, indeed

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  4. Another gorgeous poem that touched me, especially tonight, Nicholas. Thanks for posting.

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