Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Poetry Tuesday: Autumn Grasses

Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891) Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper
Autumn Grasses
Copyright Margaret Gibson, 2003

In fields of bush clover and hay-scent grass
the autumn moon takes refuge
The cricket's song is gold

Zeshin's loneliness taught him this

Who is coming?
What will come to pass, and pass?

Neither bruise nor sweetness nor cool air
knows the way

And the moon?
Who among us does not wander, and flare
and bow to the ground?

Who does not savor, and stand open
if only in secret

taking heart in the ripening of the moon?

I don't know a lot about poet Margaret Gibson, but I chose this poem today because its tones (and the mysterious tones of the painting from which it draws inspiration) so perfectly convey the way that I feel as we slip into autumn, with winter just ahead.

On Saturday morning around 5 am as I was getting ready for hunting, the moon was so bright and near-full here that I didn't need a flashlight. But it also held that secret, slightly frightening edge, "ripening" in the autumn sky.

Somehow in the spring the moon seems soft and not as present. In the summer and fall we have the harvest moon, sometimes romantic, but warm and welcoming. In the winter, though, that moon takes on a different cast. Bright and grey behind clouds, the moon can be downright eerie shining on a winter landscape of sparkling fields of ice. In the winter the moon is lonely and cold and perfectly at home. The ice queen surveying (and shaping) her slick kingdom.

We're not quite there yet, but soon the end of autumn will come and the cricket's gold song will set and we will watch the cold silver moon of winter rise.

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