The moon is born
and a child is born,
lying among white clothes
as the moon among clouds
They both shine, but
the light from the one
is abroad in the universe
as among broken glass.
by R. S. Thomas
from Experimenting with an Amen (1986)
O lovely demon, half-divine!
Hemlock and hydromel and gall,
Honey and aconite and wine
Mingle to make thatmouth of thine-
Thy mouth I love: but most of all
It is thy tears that I desire-
Thy tears, like fountain-drops that fall
In garden red,Satanical;
Or like the tears of mist and fire,
Wept by the moon, that wizards use
to secret runes when they require
Some silver philtre,sweet and dire.
By Clark Ashton Smith
I met a witch with amber eyes
Who slowly sang a scarlet rune,
Shifting to an icy laughter
Like the laughter of the moon.
Red as a wanton’s was her mouth.
And fair the breast she bade me take
With a word that clove and clung
Burning like a furnace-flake.
But from her bright and lifted bosom,
When I touched it with my hand,
Came the many-needled coldness
Of a glacier-taken land.
And, lo! The witch with eyes of amber
Vanished like a blown-out flame,
Leaving but the lichen-eaten
Stone that bore a blotted name.
by Clark Ashton Smith
And this is the sordid dream of the drunkard creeping to prayer,
And the maddened mob drowning the noise of the birds
Frightened and fluttering in the dusty trees,
And all the hysterical converts insulting the heavens,
The brown pond sticky with the thighs of the damned;
And here comes a fellow to shake your liver
For out of his nightmare he leapt
When the moon crept up behind the Iron Bridge
And the garage heap, where the trollop sat waiting
To sell her filth to the fool. And I saw
All this shabby mockery of April
As a neurotic’s delirium, his hallucination
Of apes and angels and dog-headed ghosts
Mingling and whirling and circling and dancing
Among the decaying boughs that laced like serpents
The ripped edges of the darkening sky.
O Lord God, save us from tinned donkey,
From Soviet scientific magazines,
From the Scottish Sabbath, from American war films,
From the demagogues of Aberdare and abadan,
And above all, O Lord God, save us from the Pentecostals.
by Idris Davies
The Scottish Sabbath is the practise of doing nothing on a Sunday including all shops and other businesses being closed to keep the sabbath sacred.
Aberdare is a town in the Cynon Valley area of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, at the confluence of the Rivers Dare (Dâr) and Cynon. Aberdare is 4 miles (6 km) south-west of Merthyr Tydfil, 20 miles (32 km) north-west of Cardiff and 22 miles (35 km) east-north-east of Swansea. During the 19th century it became a thriving industrial settlement, which was also notable for the vitality of its cultural life and as an important publishing centre.
Abadan, famous for its oil refinery, was the site of the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, also known as the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia, was the joint invasion of Iran in 1941 during the Second World War by the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union. The invasion lasted from 25 August to 17 September 1941 and was codenamed Operation Countenance. Its purpose was to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines (through the Persian Corridor) for the USSR, fighting against Axis forces on the Eastern Front.
Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
No, not the moon – the bright face of a clock
glimmers to me. How is it my fault
that I perceive the feeble stars as milky?
And I hate Batyushkov’s unbounding arrogance:
What time is it? Someone simply asked –
and he replied to them: eternity!
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Fun fact: Such an exchange did occur between Konstanin Batyushkov and his doctor and in his poem ‘For The Tombstone of a Little Girl’ he imagined a dead baby saying to her parents ‘Dear ones, don’t cry! / Envy my ephemerality; / I did not know this life, / And know eternity’ (translation by Peter France).
When Catrin was a small child
She thought the foghorn moaning
Far out at sea was the sad
Solitary voice of the moon
Journeying to England.
She heard it warn “Moon, Moon”,
As it worked the Channel, trading
Weather like rags and bones.
Tonight, after the still sun
And the silent heat, as haze
Became rain and weighed glistening
In brimful leaves, and the last bus
Splashes and fades with a soft
Wave-sound, the foghorns moan, moon –
Lonely and the dry lawns drink.
This dimmed moon, calling still,
Hauls sea-rags through the streets.
by Gillian Clarke
from The Sundial (Gwasg Gomer, 1978)
Flying in at my window,
a moon like a snow jay
scrapes claws on walls,
flutters over my pillow
Scared of confinement
in pages or dwelling,
my homeless darling –
in midnight finery.
by Варлам Тихонович Шаламов (Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov)
translated by Robert Chandler