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May 2019

Earth's Moon is 225,745 miles away, yet we have always felt very close to it. The earliest poetry used the Moon for inspiration and its attractions has never waned.

Have you heard the phrase "waxing poetic?" As with the Moon, when we "wax" we grow, become, get, or turn. In the Moon phases, between new and full a progressively larger part of the Moon's visible surface is illuminated and it appears to increase (wax) in size.

"Waning" is the opposite - that decreasing after a full moon. We have created a number of names for these waxing and waning phases: a waxing or waning Gibbous moon when more than half of the moon is illuminated, and a waxing or waning Crescent Moon when less than half is illuminated.

Those phases of the Moon are often compared to phases and cycles of people, both mental and physical. The constant of the Moon is that it is inconstant.

O, swear not by the moon
that inconstant Moon
that monthly changes in her circled orb
lest thy love prove likewise variable.
- Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

The new Moon, when the Moon is essentially hidden, is also known as the Dark Moon. In the Druidic calendar, the night of the Full Moon is considered a time of rejoicing, and the night of the New Moon is a solemn occasion, calling for vigils and meditation. To the Druids, the new moon represents total feminine energy and an absence of masculine energy.

Moon lore comes in many forms. There are the beliefs/superstitions, such as thinking that good luck will come your way if you first see the New Moon outside and over your right shoulder. To see the crescent Moon over the right shoulder was considered lucky, but seeing it over the left shoulder was unlucky.

To get rid of warts, take a slice of apple and while looking at the New Moon, rub the flesh of the apple against the wart and say: "What I see is growing, What I rub is going." Bury the piece of apple. As it rots, the wart will disappear.

The Moon lent its name to other names. In medieval Europe and England, “Moon’s men” were thieves and highwaymen who plied their trade by night. The more current term, “moonlighting,” is similar, originally meaning to hold down an additional night job.

And we have given the Full Moons many names. This Full Moon for May can be called the Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Grass Moon, Milk Moon, Planting Moon, the Medieval Hare Moon, Buddha Full Moon, Moon When Frogs Return and many other names based on cultures and geography.

Most people know that it was once believed that the Moon (especially Full Moon) could cause madness. In German, mondsüchtig, which can be translated as "lunatic," is literally “addicted to the moon.”

There is no shortage of Moon poems. Some are traditional in their approach, such as " To the Moon" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, —
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

But some poems use the Moon in other ways.

The Moon and the Yew Tree” by Sylvia Plath is one of a group of poems that was published in The New Yorker in August 1963, six months after her death.

The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.

In another poem, "The Rival," Sylvia Plath mixes the charm and darkness of this satellite of Earth.

If the moon smiles, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
of something beautiful, but annihilating...

And we should not ignore the facts about the Moon. The footprints left by the Apollo astronauts will not erode as they would on Earth since there is no wind or water on the Moon and should last at least 10 million years. If you weigh 140 pounds on earth, you would weigh 23.240 lbs on the moon. The moon is 225,745 miles from earth.

Our prompt this month - as the May Full Moon approached - was to write a poem about the Moon, but try to use it in a new way.

For more on all our prompts and other things poetic, check out the Poets Online blog.


black moon
no moon
moon that finally
gets to hide at night
this too is my phase
there but unseen
waned to nothingness
with more than
a lunar cycle
before I will be
full again

Lianna Wright


she was just like the moon
when i saw her last

body as pale as the moonlight
with grey speckles complimenting her skin
as if the moon caressed her with gentle hands

eyes once as bright as the blue moon
as they stared vacantly up at the stars
which danced above us in the night

dress as yellow as some moons can be
with small swirls of orange
that blended in the hue

my hands were as red as the blood moon
as i grasped her pale face in desperation
the cherry rose blood cascading down her face

she was just like the moon
when i saw her last
cold and dead

Dina Abdeljaber


I don't know why I feel this way
No consciousness of any pain
No reason I should be unwell
No destination to attain
Through all this pointless walking

The light is sharp but not down low
Where my stare reaches the flagstone
Where rats sometime scurry along
Where my thoughts drift in the shadow
And mingle in the doorways

I feel a pull and raise my head
Hit by the glare of a street lamp
Hit by the entrapping occlusion
Hit by the urge to see beyond
Break out of the illusion

I clear the fences of the park
Darkness greets me in her embrace
Tall trees now shield the urban din
It's time for me to take all in
The glorious light of the full moon.

Peter Rorton


I have arrived
To a surreal place,
High over rainbows
Where colours blast through
Transient light.
Higher than the birds that soar.
I am in a blackened galaxy
Except for a plethora of stars
Lighting my way.
I'm walking on rock dust;
Hear it crunch
Beneath my elevated feet.
I am turning cartwheels,
Away from a volatile earth
Down below
Where nothing is right anymore.
I have risen up to somewhere
More tranquil,
Where I can think.
I am euphoric,
I am an alien on the moon.

Tanya Fillbrook


the moon is pink like vampires sucking yogurt out of a carton
it’s pale, but not so bright that one would lose their handle
very few are blinded by its rosy intermissions
but if you are one of them
do not
they’ll take you by the neck and snap it till there’s nothing left
if one were still awake to see the painful fracture
no doubt they’d compare it to milk from a cow
it’s coming now
be cautious
do not
for mere mortals cannot comprehend its murderous stare

Aura Akunne


I look down and think
Mad men - all of them
With unshielded eyes you see me for I do you no harm, but you do not
know me - not really
I have been male and female; a deity across ancient civilizations
And to think I was once to blame for your lunacy
Dwarfed in comparison and taken for granted like the great gold one -
the heavenly giver of life
Yet such devotion I do not crave; I am no envious moon for I am
Earth’s first other worldly lover
An object of desire and one of her greatest victories
I content myself with self-proclaimed witches and moony-eyed lovers,
howling wolves and baying hounds
I am the master of tides, a true social media-less influencer
I am the world's nightlight and as such I can see too the footprints
and debris of humankind upon my rocky, cratered surface
I am not your waste site; not your plan(et) B
You who call yourself the blue planet
And your talk of space tourism and colonization
Such hubris that I wax with fury at the thought
You here with my fire cracker-scented dust, craters and quakes,
unclimbed mountains, black and blue-less silent sky and sea-less
"seas" of basalt plains
Here hundreds degrees below Fahrenheit and there hundred degrees above
No oxygen, water, or vegetation
Yet I too give life
Without me you would see climate change you could not reject
Unlike the prodigal son, year by year I recoil from you
Perhaps because I know you are coming; perhaps like a chip off the old
block, I need to distance myself
Perhaps in my birthing I was born to be the last standing
But I will keep your scars and mementos - these alien artifacts-in-waiting
And I will look out upon where you once were and though I will shine
less brighter
The man in the moon will not grieve you
For I am no man and I will no longer be your moon

Terri J. Guttilla


A silent letter made its way to the castle’s gate,
Sealed in a royal blue envelope the letter went as such:

The wisest of the two who watch over us Mythics,
You’re shining glow outmatches your lover’s radiant smile.
Though many of us Mythics find ourselves at odds,
Who is better, Solair or Lunar, I know it’s you.
You are kind and gentle as you embrace us
Within your temporary darkness.

You give us rest and a beautiful view
As your children shine vividly up in the sky.
None can prove to be superior to your world;
You alone provide us with a cool breeze.
Even so people continue to debate in Solair’s anger
While you sing softly to us a sweet lullaby.

So now I shall end my wholesome sacrilege,
To you who is the best of both worlds, I leave, adue.
Forever will your vibrant glow guide my way in the night.
My sin of godly competition will never dismay my feelings to you.
Lunar, you love us so, I only speak the truth.
Forever will your glowing gleam light my way as I escape,
For now I will stay and pray you a simple wholesome goodnight.

Sarah Abrego


yellow globe
suspended in a black sky
haiku moon

cadmium yellow flame
in an indigo sky
full moon on the rise

somewhere in the night
a lone wolf bellows
opulent moon

Marie A. Mennuto-Rovello


The Huntress is ready once the moon finds
Color. The same soul she’s been after for these
Ten months will never wander into her draw. The
Sky is restless under her moon today.

The Wolf’s fate is sealed once the week of the winter
Solstice has concluded. The nights are long and
Bright. Where he walks, her soul has too. The
Sky is anxious tonight, under his moon.

To their moon, each cursed up and cried of
Their sorrows in not finding the other, to have
One another for eternity. To the moon, they
Cried: “Where will I find your soul, my dear?”

The moon gazed down, on the Huntress in January,
The Wolf in October, and said simply to each
Only this: “Why must you be on the hunt for me?
Why are you unsatisfied? I am you, and you are I.”

Alas, the Huntress lived in her Wolf, and likewise
The other way.

Jake Rivera


I step outside, barrels of tossed around words
Trail after me like a lost puppy.
Your innocent gleam warms me
In the dead winter night. Yet
Somehow I still despise you.
How you are so free.
Free to be anywhere you choose.
You see the world. Her beauties,
Her wonders. And yet you still
Come back to taunt me. You
Glide across the clear streams,
Watch as people go by as if you
Are the one that is jealous.
What I would give to be
Up there with you. Free from
The ignorance and hostility of
Others. But, for now I will remain.
Listening to their knife like words.

Kaitlyn Baskiewicz


Together, together,
We break our earthly tethers.
We fly beyond our somber skies
Fighting through the weather.

As one, as one,
Our journey has just begun.
Our hope is the moon, silver stars
In hopes of not coming undone.

So soon, so soon,
Toward the reaches of the moon.
Toward the rabbit making rice cakes
As it sings a silent tune.

Goodnight, goodnight,
Someone turned off the lights.
Someone made the rabbit rest
The moon no longer in sight.

Farewell, Farewell,
We hear the ringing bells.
We hear it calling us back to Earth
As we sleep to the new moon’s spell.

Jonathan Nguyen


The sky is a scree of clouds scudding and skipping
Over the moor, the rough mere and the mountains sloping
Away to darkness. The dark peat and the darkening day unstoppering
My bottled fear, held fierce and fast, escaping.

Our moon holds the earth’s hand, hard then loose each day
To steady her jitters; she stills her to stay
The mad spin, unwind the coil sprung, her tidal spray,
Like holy water, to bless its whirl away.

Alive - as my heart aloud beats iron-shod -
Give me, moon, your marked hand too, in mine
To harness my falling, hide my failing, our flung feet trod
Deft In a dance together, dapple down we’ll shine.

But no. Just the wind whined, whipped at my hair
In the now night, no beams shouted or shone
Only my phone light flickered, messageless, unfair
so silhouetted in your silence, I stumble on.

Matt Edwards


You have followed me
a pockmarked face
a beam of eye
a scythe pruning darkness
on a mountain road

all these teflon days
sandpaper nights

you have reflected
my gaze
into her eyes

I know this

but you
do not beat faster
for clasped hands
or stone bruised knees

do not flinch
at screams
flung from this
anchor world

you merely watch
a silent stranger
pale mannequin face
at a corner table

a round canvas
aglow with our trembling

Brian Rihlmann


It was a full Moon that watched
conjunction on Earth of young Red Fox
with tires on yellow centerline.
It must have happened last night, Fox
not moonstruck but limned with Moon’s
reflected light as Fox slipped
from highway shoulder to lethal
pavement – headlights, impact
on a desolate stretch of road.
Moon doesn’t care.

Small and lithe as my cat,
Fox lies as if stretched at peace,
in sleep, across centerline
behind my eye.

Taylor Graham


You breathe out and I taste spice.

You leave the same impression
Taking advantage of my mud face
You sculpt into sour premonitions

You owe honor to a scandalous moon
Her pale, dreary ghost altering your shape

You are a bone colored moth drifting at my toes and shins
As I tightrope walk home seeking composure
Now your vengeance lives through the blue surrounding

I die into dawn as if it were a fountain
Police laugh and sigh first, then remove me

I post the mugshot on every phone pole
Certain you will wheel your wagon past me
Then your smile will kiss you with bromine
And I will finally not care

Kenneth Cahall


Lunacy -
Driven mad as I am
Drunken by the hands of stardust
That lingers on her lips.
Her pale blue eyes
Shine through my curtains,
Calling me closer -
Sirens as I sleep
The tides pulling me in
Into illumination,
Imprints of the inception
Of interstellar involvement
And those imprints shall forever remain
A part of her, unbothered by the
Passage of time.
Eons pass
Yet she remains the ruler of a still night’s
Ocean, hoping, praying
That she can drag me back into the vacuum,
Back to Bethlehem, where she remains
One over all.
She is enigmatic, a terror that drove
Galileo to madness and now she hopes to have
My heart.
My body.
My soul.

Zenen Rivera


I want to look through your eyes
and see what you see
look through your eyes and see
a different sky

When you speak I'm mesmerized
I want the night's sky
but through your eyes
since it is of what you so fondly speak

You call the night's air crisp
and call her calm
as if the night was a woman
and the moon her love

I will sit with you
and listen to your words
for there is nothing better
than a passionate story teller

Although, I do not know how to tell
if you're as infatuated with the moon
as I am, but with you

Emma Blue


What's all the fuss about?
I want to know
On Earth
They love You so
Write poems about
Your magic powers
Gaze at your pimpled face
For hours
As if you were some regal Queen
Beyond the reach of mortal men
Who fantasized
That they might win
Your hand
Or, failing that,
Some lewd affair
Some secret, titillating sin
That they could
Brag about in Bars
Shame your Royal Haughtiness
Before the even more conceited Stars
Fickle meteors, self-conscious Asteroids
Tantrum throwing Comets
Tearing up the sky
Quasars, Black Holes and Nebulae

This Galaxy's a crowded neighborhood
Lost in the vast expanse of Space
Our solar system's one small block
And you, dear Moon, are one small rock
Here, I am "the fairest of them all"
And you are but my mirror

Frank Kelly


Ilargi, Kuu and Luna.
Chang Xi, Chia, Diana.
The Moon Goddess has a thousand names
But she always wears purple.

moon shot moon river blue moon Reverend Moon
moon cake dark moon full moon blood moon

Ask for the moon and be over the moon.
Bark at the moon, then become the moon.
Moon around, promise the moon, shoot for the moon
And give thanks, from the heart, to the Man in the Moon
Who loyally serves Phoebe, Artemis, Gleti,
Mano, Mahina, Mayari,
Mama Killa and Jaci and Selardi
Lona and Menily and Hanwi.

The Moon Goddess has a thousand names
But she always wears purple.

Damon Leigh


The murders took place in June
He said it was the moon
He killed his wife and his son soon after
We couldn’t help but hold in the laughter
Repeating, “It me do it!”
We all questioned his inner-wit

The murders took place in July
This old lady had now caught our eye
She drowned her own daughter in a nearby lake
The moon again, this all has to be fake
Repeating, “The moon! The moon!”
Night-fueled terror runs strewn

The murders took place in August
Investigations began with disgust
It was a man with a gun
These cases made me pray for the sun
He killed seven people and injured more
Back through and through the door
He cried out, “Forgive me, it was the moon!”
This moon, I think it’s turning me into a loon

It all doesn’t make sense
We couldn’t really be this dense?
In all my experience, I just cannot see
Why all these cases have to do with lunacy

Joey Zuffanti


The moon on the horizon was blood red
when you went away, splayed out like a corpse

ready for autopsy, darkly luminous, its
brightness flooding the night, filling the

nearby woods with dancing shadows
as you once filled my life, a bringer

of joy and pain, of wincing pleasure,
of birth and reverdie to a rocky shore.

But then, mutable as the moon, you changed,
phase by phase, swirling like morning mist,

waxing, waning, invading, retreating,
never still, tugging against gravity

like a helium balloon—
until you escaped the earth, and time itself.

Robert Miller


The moon
pressed her whole
Self Against the backdrop
And the blacktop Flattened herself
against the barn door Spilled through
cracks in the windows She was white and
yellow and neither She was round as a marble
this naked If I could hold her in my hands I would
                                           Shoot to the moon~moon shadows And moon river
                                        Moonshine and moon-over-the mountain and
                                          Moon pie And then some I say I could look
                                         at her all the time But this isn’t true
                                           She’s my mother daughter sister
                                       she might be my best friend
                                      or the last thing I am
                                        or will be
Patty Joslyn