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Transactions with Beauty.
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- Shawna

 

 

Mooncakes

Mooncakes

Last week was the moon festival or the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. I've always wanted to try a mooncake, and the local T&T store had them. I think they're so beautiful. 

There's no shortage of poetry about the moon, but the following poem by Kathleen Jamie struck me. 

Moon

by Kathleen Jamie

Last night, when the moon
slipped into my attic room
as an oblong of light,
I sensed she’d come to commiserate.

It was August. She traveled
with a small valise
of darkness, and the first few stars
returning to the northern sky,

and my room, it seemed,
had missed her. She pretended
an interest in the bookcase
while other objects

stirred, as in a rock pool,
with unexpected life:
strings of beads in their green bowl gleamed,
the paper-crowded desk;

the books, too, appeared inclined
to open and confess.
Being sure the moon
harbored some intention,

I waited; watched for an age
her cool gaze shift
first toward a flower sketch
pinned on the far wall

then glide down to recline
along the pinewood floor,
before I’d had enough. Moon,
I said, We’re both scarred now. 

Are they quite beyond you,
the simple words of love? Say them.
You are not my mother;
with my mother, I waited unto death.

 

More about the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie on her website. Her latest book of poems is titled, The Bonniest Companie. This poem is from The Overhaul, which is reviewed in The Guardian. From the review:

"By Jamie's standards, Moon is one of the collection's more fanciful poems. But I love the image of the moon as an elegant traveller with a "small valise of darkness" – not to mention scholarly pretensions, considering the bookcase, encouraging the books to confess. It is Jamie herself who opens up in the end. And as moon and mother collide, there is something biblical about the "unto" in the last line that gives the confession a stiffness that insures against sentimentality."

The reviewer notes that the poems in the collection are "unhurried" and you can see this in the moon poem. No rush, the moon lingers here and there. The speaker of the poem "watched for an age." But then finally, she's had enough. Which is the way patience with people often goes. 

mooncakes
 

In music, as in poetry, the moon is everywhere. Do you have a favourite 'moon song?' This next one by Van Morrison would have to be up there for me. (And I hear he has a new album out....). 

 

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mooncakes

But let's not stop talking about the moon quite yet. A favourite poem of mine is by Hafiz:

That Sweet Moon Language

by Hafiz

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, 
“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, 
otherwise
someone would call the authorities.

Still, though, think about this, 
this great pull in us to
connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a
full moon in each eye that is
always saying,

with that sweet moon
language,

what every other eye in
this world is
dying to
hear?

 

Let's think about that great pull in us to connect. Let's think about speaking with a sweet moon language. Let's think about telling others what they so keenly need to hear. 

Let's listen to the call of the world, as the poet, Franco Loi does in this next poem, found on Poetry International. Let's look it in the eye.

mooncakes and tea

How I love the world, the air, its breath!

by Franco Loi

How I love the world, the air, its breath!
the trees, the grass, the sun, those houses, the lovely streets,
the ever-changing moon, the ivy over the houses;
I like the saltiness of the sea, mad kidding about,
cups between friends, fir-trees in the wind
and all God’s things, even the meanest,
and the trams that pass by, the window panes that shine,
backs hurriedly turned and lowered eyes,
the woman who perturbs you:
the world is there and seems to wait for you
to look it in the eye, for you to heed it
since it’s always there but easy to forget,
to be distracted from it, to nod off…
But when evening’s shadows come,
how the world calls out to you! how that sky
expands and comes upon you in its true
beauty without flaws or kinks in its reflections,
and then for your completion you change colour.

 

mooncakes

Anton Chekhov says, “Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” And Rumi, from another bookshelf responds, "Don't ask questions about longing. Look in my face."

And then this next poem pops into my mind, because of mooncakes, sweet cakes, and the need  to just say the word yes to you. 

 

God Says Yes To Me

by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes


{This poem can be found in the lovely anthology Soul Food}

Sweetcakes, mooncakes, what I'm telling you is it's okay to say, "love me," it's okay to carry a small valise of darkness. It's okay to love the trees, the grass, the sun. It's okay to be melodramatic, poetic, and weird. It's okay to be scarred. And scared. It's all okay. It is. It really really is. 

5 Quotations  by Enrique Martinez Celaya

5 Quotations by Enrique Martinez Celaya

One Real Thing

One Real Thing