The Last Dark Moon

They say, those who know such things, that that tomorrow will be the last Dark Moon visible from Earth.

Don’t ask how I know this information, just trust that my source is impeccable and beyond all doubting. No one would listen to me in any case, but I wanted to leave a record, not that there will be anyone ever to read it, but I will have said my piece.

That is important to me.

For several years now people have been preparing to flee Earth, making the necessary preparations to abandon the only place humans have every lived. They do this because Earth has become virtually uninhabitable. The air is foul, the water poisoned, the land denuded of trees. There are no birds to speak of or sing any more, and no longer any large, and few small, mammals on land or in the sea. I will not run the list, everyone knows. Everyone saw it coming and those who had the power to alter the outcome did nothing. They did nothing because it would risk their wealth and privilege. So death ruled and extinction became so common place that one more loss, by the end, was any longer mourned.

But, I mourned. I wept for the world as it was becoming. I grieve for the world that has become. And though I wanted to stop what was happening, I had no real power. I could stop buying this or that product, but it made no real difference. To the end I never stopped trying in my own little way.

I have a room in my home with photos of all those who are gone. For as long as someone remembers them, they still exist, at least in my heart. A heart so full of sadness, brimming over with memory of the lost ones.

In all of this, though, I could look up into the stars at night, especially when the power failed, which it did with increasing regularity as the fuels ran out and there were no more resources to strip from the body of Earth. I could look up and see the stars, watch the constellations wheel through the night sky in their dances of destiny and order. I could look up at the Moon and watch the phases, in and out, increase and diminishment.

The last phase of preparation before beginning the evacuation of Earth will be to throw on all the lights so people we know that they are heading; they will see the clusters of lights and be reassured. Of course only the wealthy and the young are being allowed to go. If one cannot pay for passage one can sign on in a renewed form of indentured servitude. Already the new phase of human endeavour begins with slavery, but they have a some fancy name for it that I don’t recall, and besides people have been used to other kinds of indebtedness for generations now to buy homes and to furnish them with stuff.

None of that really concerns me, what concerns me is what taking away the Dark Moon will do to people’s souls. Granted they will look back on a dark Earth, but it is not the same. Not the same at all. The Moon was for most of human existence a place of mystery, variously a god or goddess. The force of tides that for too long have brought our rubbish and death to the shores where people have not been near for years, for they became too toxic a long time ago.

The last time the New Moon will rest in the arms of the old, as I understand one long vanished native people called the Dark Moon. The New Moon will be forever tarnished, and I will have lived to see that night. Those who can leave will look up and celebrate. They will congratulate themselves on being fortunate enough to go there in the next few months. They will not understand that what they leave was once so beautiful and pristine, and even before they arrive, the Moon was littered with human debris.

We are a wasteful and wasting species. None of that will change as we go off to exploit other worlds. I can envisage a chain of ruined worlds over the next however many millennia. What a terrible legacy.

And tomorrow is the Last Dark Moon, forever. The power running the lights will be able to carry on even after humans embark for worlds farther away.

A very few people will still populate the Earth, but not for too many more generations. All the wealth and all the will to keep Earth viable is on its way, away.

And tomorrow is the Last Dark Moon, when all the stars will sing their song of glory one last time, for once the moon is lighted there will be no phases, it will always be light. No waxing. No waning. No deep mystery. No wonder. Only night as light as day. No night any longer either.

I imagine that any creatures left on Earth will die from lack of the basic patterns of their beings. No dark. No rest. No night. No repose. Even if artificially created dark is possible the energy of all that light will still insinuate itself through every conceivable space. There will be no escaping it.

I shall stay up the whole night, the last real night. The night of the Last Dark Moon.

Perhaps, if I am blessed my heart will burst from sadness and the lost ones can die in peace with me.

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Emerge

Emerge from the fog.
Merge with the mist.
Appear in dream.
Disappear at dawn.

Elusive,
secretive,
unsure
if the call has been heard,
if the presence will be heeded,
if the images can be held.

Waking from the wandering of sleep,
rising from the repose of night,
aware of the new day
away drift the words
given as the lights went out.

The head goes down,
the eyelids close,
the body refuses
to respond to the
desire, need, demand
to record the words,
capture the idea,
harness the images
before they drift away
slip beyond the gate of memory,
lost to the dark
of restless sleep,
fretful waking.

Orion

I have seen you unexpectedly
in the sky over thin Iona,
leaning against a whispy cloud
in the light of a chill dawning.

I await your appearance
each Autumn dusk
for you are the harbinger
of long dark nights ahead.

I greet you by name
leaving or arriving home,
seek you out overhead
easily seen in a city sky.

Now you watch over me,
for you are visible
each night when
my head rests upon its pillow.

Through the uncurtained window
I know you track with me
the dreams of Winter,
and assist me in any successful hunt.

 

 

Closed for the Night

Recently, I have been allowing myself to open up more to the world around me. To the dancing of the wind scattering the long strands of my hair into wondrous tangles. To the patter of the rain on my back as I work in the garden. To the summer sun, with whom I have an uneasy truce. To the mad chuttering of the squirrels, impatient calling of the magpies and the sweet songs of the small birds who visit our feeders. I am able to do this from the time I get up in until the sun goes down.

From sunset to sunrise, I find that I have close myself off and down again, to anything beyond the safe walls of my home. I sense quite acutely now the creatures of my immediate and farther landscape. But for now I will not allow myself to extend, because I daren’t engage with the countryside in my county. The Badger Cull has returned.

I simply cannot bear to hear the silent cries of the dying or feel the agony of the wounded. I learned this last year. I am not strong enough to endure this once more. At sunset, I offer ‘prayers’ to the gods and spirits of the land that the Badgers do not suffer when they are exterminated. It is, I admit, the request of one who knows better, because there will only be suffering. No only for the Badgers killed, but for the members of setts decimated in the nightly carnage.

In the morning, I wake to the beauty of the sunrise, the bird song, the view of my yew and apple trees, but I am still haunted by the knowing that so may of my Badger kin will never know the feeling of the wind over their backs, the rain on their noses or the sun warming the entrance to their sett. I pause and as I give thanks for another day, I whisper farewell to those who have died during the night in a misguided attempt to control a disease that has by now in the land itself. harder still is that we will never know how many healthy Badgers died, and died in vain.

 

Orion

I have searched for an image to go with this post, but none are as clear as the one I saw inspiring these words. I got up at 0300 to see the special eclipse not sure what to expect. In my pajamas, jumper and furry slippers I walked out of my little porch. Immediately in front of me was Orion. There were not lots of other stars confusing the view it was pretty much Orion standing tall above the Maize Mothers. There appeared ever so briefly a shooting star reminding me of the depth of space/time.

Although I got up to watch the moon slip into totality, and stood looking up in awe of her colour wreathed in darkness, but I was most taken by the view of Orion.

I made the acquaintance of Orion properly on Iona nearly 20 years ago. It was the first place he was close enough to touch. As I visited the island most often in October, it is not surprising that he was there to greet me. For me, his energy is quite powerful and mysterious. I look forward to my first sighting each Autumn and on such a special night this year, when the energies of the space/time were so evident made the moment even more powerful.

Orion 1

I revere your presence,
leader of the Sky hunt
through the wastes of Winter,
gathering your power
in the nights of Autumn.

I honour your authority,
caller of the Sky hunt
through the wilderness of galaxies,
focusing your strength
in the darkening of nights.

I respect your dignity,
master of the Sky hunt
through the mysteries of space/time,
holding your nerve
in the density of darkness.

Orion 2

I greet you, Orion,
this clear bright night,
ever deepening to the
cold harsh heart
of Winter.

I ask you, Orion,
to share your energy,
celestial light blazing
through the frozen sky
of Winter.

I thank you, Orion,
for offering your presence,
to sustain the fearful and weary
during every night
of Winter.

Orion 3

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

The Hunter and the Gatherer paired
provision the larder,
enabling the tribe
to be sustained and healthy,
year on year
through every season,
moon and moment.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

No longer able
to partake the flesh Beasts,
for in these days
it is neither freely given
nor reverently taken,
I still require
this energy to survive.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

When I greet and reverence you,
with grace and gratitude
I am able to receive this energy,
these gifts the Beasts
can only provide if taken
with respect when given the dignity
of a freely surrendered death.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

* * * *

Even for me the third poem raises issues and paradoxes that are complex and not easily resolved. What I am able to do is articulate and then wrestle with them. And always, always eat with an open and grateful heart.

Farewells the Day

This poem was inspired by a reply I made on Twitter, to a photo posted of a blackbird singing as darkness fell.

Hear the blackbird’s song,
dancing through the leaves,
tripping over fences,
lilting in the hedges,
the herald announcing
summer’s ever briefer
darkness nearing,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sweet notes of the solo
sent forth into the sky
filled in the distance
with clouds perhaps,
or the lonely crescent moon
barely lifted from the horizon
a presence daring emptiness,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sending forth notes melodious
the chorister sings his
own evensong
an avian orison
announcing another interval of light
lived fading passing
into the tomorrow’s memories,
as he farewells the day
welcomes the night.

Darkness in Falls Summer

When darkness falls in summer
it tumbles quickly
as the gloaming recedes,
fading into star sprinkled night
of a sudden between
one breath indrawn
and soon released.

The clouds glow
in a phosphorescent white,
too bright too pure,
clinging to the last shimmering
rays of sunlight as we move away
spinning silently and at speed
opposite the day.

When the sky is clear
the stars blink on,
a thousand million suns
ignited as disordered beacons,
insistent points of brightness
cutting through the black,
where once the illusioned blue sky
spanned wide beyond our reaching.

The night so short in some places
it is never truly dark,
and for several months
stars disappear from view,
the sun barely tickling the horizon
giving no respite from the light,
testing the ability of most to cope
longer than a brief few weeks,
for we are made for light and dark
for day and night
for one sun to shine then many.

The darkness falls quickly
at the height of summer
knowing by some unimaginable wisdom
it must be swift to beat the day
before the single light emerges
inexorably setting the east ablaze,
rousing us from sleep
stealing our dreaming time,
teasing us up to work and play and be
whilst giving in return
a shorter interval of rest less time
for secret assignations with the self.