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Poetry & the Moon

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls ( -- The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington.

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

- from "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair: XVIII, Here I Love You," Pablo Neruda, 1924

This month's O Magazine features a tribute to poetry, offering a sampling of the inspiration of our collective poets. I found it telling how overjoyed I was with this surprise edition. As a culture, particularly in the mass media, we rarely talk about poetry. Hungry for this dialog, I was delighted to read the variety of insights and heart-polished poems alive in the lives of others.

Poetry is something treasured by many, in the most intimate and private way. At some point we learn to publicly recite poetry. (How I remember my daughter in middle school, trolling through Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" and the prerequisite Kipling as she sat in the back of the car on our after school errands.) Somewhere along the way as young adults we begin to find our thoughts echoed in those of the poets. Translated from a feeling into an insight. I remember this same daughter at twenty, living in London at the time, telling me how she discovered the personal meaning of T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" (1922) while walking old industrial London along the edge of the Thames. Something about being there in the city, seeing what Eliot saw through her own eyes, and feeling the rhythm of the poem in her steps brought her deep within the hymn of the meaning of this story of London.

Poetry is a doorway into our most private thoughts. For each of us there will come a poem, personal and beloved, which lives within us all our lives. An anthem to our journey, to who we are and what we know, a truth captured in words given to the world by some other. Last Saturday the world marked the nearest passage of the moon to our earth in eighteen years. A "super perigee" - a cycle in the lunar orbit that brought the moon in close proximity to the earth. A moon appearing fourteen percent larger and thirty percent brighter. A pearl from the heavens, riding the night clouds.

Bring poetry near. Let language loom large and bright. May we remember the poets as we look at our world, and live graced within their words.

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