No. 10 - 11


Susan Bullock  

The Moon

            For Carol Madden

In nineteen seventy-nine
A drought struck Turkana
And in its steps hunger
Portended by a sign
Of a moon red in color.
Tribesmen, though in languor,
Would at noon convene
And dance around a mask
And chant o rain pour,
Make this land all green.

Late one evening you heard
While talking with a neighbor
A din, a beating clamor,
As winged as a bird.
Across the valley it flew:
Red, red is the moon’s hue.
Drums and sticks and pots,
Clapping hands and feet,
Announced nature’s plot:
Death was in the beat.

They beat with what they could find,
Singing prayers to their God
So that he might restore
Whiteness to the moon.
With you there was a man
Who pointing to a fire
Said when a fire burns red
Soon its embers die,
And if the moon turns red
In one grave we’ll lie.
You asked had the moon ever died
Within his many days;
It had, but the people prayed
And soon again it lived.
Yet once the sky turned black
As all the people worked
In the fields about midday.
That night as people slept
With dreams of rain on the way
Death claimed them, and the sky wept.

The beating now flagged on
Into the night at last
When at midnight or half past
Two slumped to the floor,
Ushered through death’s door.
The moon resumed its white
Before the mortal night
Turned into an innocent day.
Here people live and die
Because of the moon, they say.


New meaning to Eternity!
The pivot of a century—
You cannot bear it—or hear it—
Is nothing compared to this weight.

Time crouches: a broken compass.
Stars neither begin nor end, gas
And dust explosions jam the sky
And wings are reduced to why, why.

O echoes crumble and buckle!
Gravity forces a break all
Beyond any descent in dreams—
Your spirit, fiery angel, beams.

Fated Conqueror of the Past!
Extend your reach into the next
Age as thunder stomps the dead nests
Under compliance of planets.


The night is the origin of cinnabar fields.
The red moon and charred crows circling sweet alyssum
Yield in the thumb of space, as the thumb of space yields...
Sanctuary is the verse—Verge the asylum.

Master of Fire, it was only I, there, breathing...
Tell me why offerings—(shadows encroaching you)—
Of boundary stones with sulphurous sheathing
Seized the foothills, threatening the mind that was true.

Turbulence massacred the inviolable!
The psychic break!  The plume front!  The spirit flames spread!
The self-sacrifice that gave not just part but All
Tested the imperishable and the sacred.

The weight of suffering transmutes a yellow gold...
Dust of the debased is the elixir of art;
When the fire devours itself the words of life hold—
Burning the fingernail was short of burning the heart.




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