Monday, 19 September 2011

catching the moon

There I was on Saturday morning, up on the roof, staring westward and waiting for the Space Station; 0610 and four minutes to go. The just-past-full moon was overhead, haloed by the thin cloud whipping past. Southward, a great swell of grey cumulus rolled towards morning, surmounted by a great grey fin, like that of a pilot whale caught in the act of breaching. The brighter stars, and Venus, shone out of the clear patches.

But no Space Station. Wrong sort of cloud.

A bat, wind-tumbled and fluttering, like an autumn leaf but with a greater sense of purpose, fell across the sky.

As I went back down through the skylight, I caught the moon's reflection in the dewfall on the flat roof, and thought, but did not say, "Moon! Moon!"

Actually, I may have said it. Quietly, obviously.

I was thinking of the Ted Hughes poem.

Full Moon and Little Frieda

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -
And you listening.
A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm
wreaths of breath -
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.
'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.

That description of the cows unfailingly and vividly brings back the sense of times in my past. Though I had to move to the big city and study Eng Lit to learn the ancient rural craft of catching the moon in a bucket.


  1. How nice to know that I'm not the only one who goes outside at odd hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunlight reflecting off of the ISS!

    Unfortunately, a bright moon makes such things difficult to see, since it tends to brighten the entire sky.

  2. Ilove to see the moon, and the shadows it casts.

    I can smell those cows.

  3. Is that Monkey on the roofline?


  4. what a wonderful, evocative poem!

  5. It does, doesn't it, Angel? -though it would have to work v hard to obscure the space staion, I guess. I was up there supernova spotting the other night, and may well have seen it, but couldn't distinguish it from the other faint-dots-in-far-distance...
    Me too, Anji! Cow smell is hard to shake of, as it were, isn't it?
    It is, Lucy. Or possibly Mynci, of course.
    *waves to Deb and Nix*