Da capo aria: Notes Written On the Occasion of the Eclipse of the Full Wolf Moon, January 20, 2019 — a poem

Taken from our back deck.

Spectacularly cold is relative; I suppose
that others are observing in parkas, shivering
in winds more wicked, and snow tormented
by northwesterlies, an assist to the dropping
ambient temperature, well past discomfort.

But there it is — low forties with windchill
sub-thirty in Florida — it feels, to thin-blooded
me, especially cold as I watch the shadow
of Earth consume the disc of a full wolf
moon.  Bit by mile, the brightness is snuffed.

I never fully learned musical notation,
never mastered painting, acting (Intermedio:
musical work between acts) or dance.
Now I fight, pressing myself to attainment
of something beyond novice, accomplishing
some slight recognition of craftsmanship
at the art of written communication.  I flail
my back and shoulders, donn a hair shirt,
hoping to produce art before my eclipse.

Nothing much to say long ago; fearful
of saying nothing relevant in the couda.

The night sky is sumptuous, gems strewn
on a Scotch Blue cloth, the center a blood
ruby moon — all light devoured, fearfully…
wonderfully quiet.  (Coda is from Latin,
couda, meaning tail)The north wind pierces.

Branches of our oaks rattle; we silently
applaud the once-only viewing, wordless.

Inside, the port and the blanket warmed
in the dryer, do little to revive me — undone
by cold and exhaustion, and the moon.

* * *

Scotch Blue —http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/11-shades-of-blue-a-19th-century-classification-and-the-perfect-words-to-describe-a-color/

46 thoughts on “Da capo aria: Notes Written On the Occasion of the Eclipse of the Full Wolf Moon, January 20, 2019 — a poem

  1. Firstly, that’s a remarkably clear photo – one of the best I’ve seen of the event. Nice shooting! Poetically, this follows the musical form flawlessly. An allusion in the coda – fearfully…wonderfully – good choice. Love the ending of being undone by the moon. Outstanding post, Charley!


    • Thank you! I borrowed a camera, dusted off some of the stuff I learned in my photography classes… and from listening to Ansel Adams in an interview… and kept shooting. It would have been a fortune if I was using film. Thank you also about the poem. I was trying something slightly new, and the music came wafting in unexpectedly. I thought it might work. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Fortunate to be in the right place, and all that. But I suppose it helps to be on the edge… to be of a poetic bent… when something like this comes along. My nerves, my gut reacted with paper and ink shouts… and whimpers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve painted the scene beautifully, Charley. I like that you’ve included others ‘observing in parkas, shivering’. I love the ‘winds more wicked, and snow tormented / by northwesterlies’ and the intermedio is enlightening, but my favourite part is the coda, with the gorgeous description of the night sky and those final lines:
    ‘Inside, the port and the blanket warmed
    in the dryer, do little to revive me — undone
    by cold and exhaustion, and the moon.’


  3. This! this is … oh wow. this really fell down into me. the relational perspective doesn’t make it any less cold, How i resisted when things were easy, now i struggle with simple things, the rush near the end, which can bring fear of incompletion (inadequacy, failure), or just sharpen the immediacy of the now. how each moment is precious and what I choose is so important. (there is no minutia, each breath is a gift) We witness. And each worldly effort attempts to soothe, but the tale is unfinished, the tail is undone…

    oh, thank you, Charley!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome, Eric! One never knows what the stripping away of reflection… of the moon… will do to the Sirens that sing creation into the gullets of hungering poets. …or something like that.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my poem.


    • Thank you, Bjorn! I too am familiar with arctic climes… However, it takes very few Floridian summers to thin your blood and cause you to lose your taste for winter’s “delights.” I’m glad you enjoyed my poem. The music came with the moon, and the stars.


  4. The poem in its entirety is perfect Charley, the setting is vivid and clear and the stream echoes in an interesting way for me the rhythm of waiting for the big moment, the thought wandering further North and to the cold, and etc, much how I felt when I stayed up to see my first lunar eclipse as a child, bored, and sleepy and thinking it should happen faster… but the eclipse strangely sudden when it happened and your incredible coda catches that so powerfully, Robison Jeffers “excesses of God” comes to mind in the indeed, sumptuous imagery of the world and universe put out upon us. That Coda, Charley, I was undone myself. This taint easy, but so worth it, and it glides when spoken so musically.


  5. What a spectacular ode to the wolf moon. I am envious of your warm weather as you know we freezing below O. Admiring the reveal of the moon, and your photo is a gorgeous sight.


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