Wednesday, 30 September 2015


“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” - Hubert H. Humphrey

The theme for this week’s Poets United poetical challenge is “Healing”. To heal is the desired outcome of much treatment, but often nowadays modern medicine is cure-focussed and the patient may suffer much during the attempts at the restoration of health. I remember when at University and later in hospitals, we were told that “to care is the primary objective of the healer, to cure a secondary one.” This I think is often forgotten in modern medicine, which seeks magic bullets, efficacious remedies, wonderful cure-alls and powerful panaceas that cure all ills. Such fantastic treatments may have dire side-effects and often the cure they bring about may exact a terrible price on the patient’s health – one disease cured, but its place taken by another, caused by the medication…

Sterile Moonlight

The moon tonight, stronger than absinthe,
Sharper than broken glass,
Softer than mossy ground;
More powerful an aphrodisiac than ripe figs,
Intoxicating, like new wine,
More tantalising than wild strawberries.

The moon at midnight both a lover and a rapist,
A tender paramour and a loathsome abuser,
Caresses, titillates, empowers – cuts, lashes, lacerates;
Engages more violently than a barbaric conqueror,
Touches more tenderly than a mother’s kiss,
Feels and strikes, wounds and heals concurrently.

The moon last night, an elixir of paramount efficacy,
Honey and poison mingled into a potent potion, a panacea –
It cures, it kills, and saps my spirit.
Fertile, like a newly rained-upon ploughed field,
My body gathers moonbeams to weave into cloth
Covering my fecund, protuberant belly.

The moon some night watches the agony of my birth pangs,
It gently assists like an experienced midwife,
The joy of motherhood a remedy exquisite.
Mooncloth of moonbeam woven, turns from raiment into shroud:
My newborn snatched by the moon’s fury,
And in its place, a lifeless changeling by my side.


  1. Nice opening contrast in this. The moon brings many things to many people.
    I like the line on the agony of the birth pangs. The moon is the silent watcher,
    but it reminds us of other times. And that we have lived through another day,
    with its constant watching eyes. Really interesting culture touch there in the
    end as well with the newborn and the changeling. That is quite fascinating
    for those that know.

  2. I love the title and opening line!

    And these:

    "The moon at midnight both a lover and a rapist"

    "Engages more violently than a barbaric conqueror,
    Touches more tenderly than a mother’s kiss"

    All the birth references in the last two stanzas ... WOW. This is really good.

  3. This is so sad, Nicholas. The contrasts that your poem violently opposes make it touch many healed wounds that are still sore. The theme of pregnancy/childbirth/stillbirth and the healing/wounding aspect of birth/stillbirth is amazingly portrayed... The moon that is intimately linked with the monthly cycle is brilliantly woven into this theme. Fertility/sterility, joy/pain, lover/rapist, potion/poison, WOW!

  4. Wow, such powerful lines "the moon at midnight both a lover and a rapist." I agree with your notes about cure at the expense of the comfort of the often the case. A powerful write, Nicholas. Especially strong are your closing lines.

  5. I felt the passion of your story in your comment, which set me up for the tragedy in the poem. Your images buffet me so hard that I force myself to remember how impersonal it all is--we are exposed to the elements and the watcher can do nothing but watch (and maybe shed light on the subject, but not always.) The moon is constant, whether it can show its face or not. WOW! A brilliant piece, sharp as the broken glass and the experience narrated within.

  6. the second stanza contrast and the imagery of the various phases of the moon on different nights is awesome...

  7. Powerful moon imagery here...a breathtaking poem showing the moon's many facets. This is the kind of poem that makes me know why I like to read it. The last two lines -- well, whew - such well chosen words!

  8. More powerful an aphrodisiac than ripe figs,
    Intoxicating, like new wine,
    More tantalising than wild strawberries.

    Such strong and emotive images throughout this poem!!

  9. I very much agree with the good sense of what you say in your preamble. Then, the lush language and fantastical extended metaphor of the poem took me by surprise. What a beautiful read – while still making your point most forcefully.

  10. this was very sensual and imaginative which are good aspects of a romantic, cathartic poem such as yours. impressed!

  11. Yes from the title, the first line and as the moon unfolds a wonderful poem..for every brightness there is dark...and when we are lost in the dark i hope we always know it is transitory - and yes..there is much suffering on the way to not cure is fundamental...

  12. There is so much in this poem and the words you used are amazing...

  13. Your contrasts are very well chosen.

  14. Well expressed dark thoughts... This makes me feel I have have stumbled in on somewhere I shouldn't be. I agree the best healing is through the love which comes with true friendship and devotion....meanwhile there are always pills. You write very Nicholas...OK more than very well:)

    1. oops... you write very well Nicholas....OK more than very well :)