We may have all heard the nursery rhyme from the 1700’s, Hey Diddle Diddle:
“Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the Moon;
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
Poetry uses the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars as poetic metaphors and similes, and we stare out in space at night musing on what lies beyond our own understanding. The following are just some of the ways poets have used these heavenly bodies as inspiration for their verse.
From Christina Rossetti’s Sing Song (1830-1894):
Is the moon tired?
she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.
Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.
Moon, worn thin to the width of a quill,
In the dawn clouds flying,
How good to go,
light into light, and still
Giving light, dying.
By Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
In honor of this week’s New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Taurus, on Tuesday, April 29, we dedicate D.H. Lawrence’s (1885-1930) poem, New Moon:
The new moon,
of no importance
lingers behind as the yellow sun glares
and is gone beyond the sea's edge;
earth smokes blue;
the new moon,
in cool height above the blushes,
brings a fresh fragrance of heaven to our senses.
~Edgar Allan Poe
'Twas noontide of summer,
And midtime of night,
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, through the light
Of the brighter, cold moon.
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold—too cold for me—
There passed, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.
From Hannochi’s collection of poetry, A Star’s Poetry Collection:
I Am There
I am the breeze that kisses your cheek.
I am the sun that warms your face.
When you look at the purple evening sky, it is me.
When you see the majestic mountain, it is me.
When the birds sing sweetly, it is my voice.
When the water gently laps against the shore, it is my heartbeat.
I am the green grass against your feet. I am the refreshing shade of summer.
In the stars, you see my eyes. In the blue sky, you see my body.
Feel the air that surrounds you, I am there.
Feel the love in your heart, I am there.
An Algonquin Poem:
We are the stars which sing,
We sing with our light;
We are the birds of fire,
We fly over the sky.
Our light is a voice;
We make a road for the spirits;
For the spirits to pass over.
Among us are three hunters
Who chase a bear.
There never was a time
When they were not hunting.
We look down on the mountains
This is the song of the stars.
~ Marjorie Pickthall
Now in the West the slender moon lies low,
And now Orion glimmers through the trees,
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow,
And now the stately-moving Pleiades,
In that soft infinite darkness overhead
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread.
And all the lonelier stars that have their place,
Calm lamps within the distant southern sky,
And planet-dust upon the edge of space,
Look down upon the fretful world, and I
Look up to outer vastness unafraid
And see the stars which sang when earth was made.
A Sonnet on a Star
~Tamara Beryl Latham from Millford, Connecticut.
If I could write a sonnet on a star
Then bottle it and toss it to the sea
Would it travel to the corners of the Earth,
And echo there the love I hold for thee?
If I could write a sonnet on the moon
Then bottle it and toss it to the winds
Would it find your heart So you may briefly know,
Where your love ends Is where my love begins?
If I could write a sonnet on the sun
Then bottle it and toss it throughout time
Would someone from a distant galaxy
Find no greater love
Than that was mine
Yet, I cannot write a sonnet on a star,
Nor moon, nor even on the blazing sun,
Nor bottle words to send them
Where you are
Nor coerce our separate hearts
To beat as one
And so my darling
You will never hear
The humble words of love I wrote for thee
They remain encrypted, tightly sealed
And yet they travel on eternally
What is your favorite poem about the Moon or the Stars? Try your hand at writing a poem about the Moon, the stars, and the heavens. If you write it, I will share it here in this column. Send your poem to me at email@example.com. Let's fill this column with poems from our readers as a grand finale of National Poetry Month.
Read more poems about the Moon and the Stars at the Black Cat Website.