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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Waning Crescent Moon


Yumiharizuki (Bow-shaped moon), from Tsuki nijūhakkei no uchi: 28 views of the moon
: Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858), [185-, printed later] (H. Irving Olds Collection/Japanese Prints and Drawings, Library of Congress)

Later the light
spike heel hoof

of the California mule



up the middle
of Colusa

In deep night
under a waning


Bird flying with faint crescent moon in background
: artist unknown, between 1870 and 1920, from series of illustrated sheets (Japanese Fine Prints, Library of Congress)

Red sun surrounded by feathers above the ocean: artist unknown, between 1870 and 1920, from series of illustrated sheets (Japanese Fine Prints, Library of Congress)

The thin gold shaving of the moon floating slowly downwards had lost itself on the darkened surface of the waters, and the eternity beyond the sky seemed to come down nearer to the earth, with the augmented glitter of the stars, with the more profound sombreness in the lustre of the half-transparent dome covering the flat disc of an opaque sea. The ship moved so smoothly that her onward motion was imperceptible to the senses of men, as though she had been a crowded planet speeding through dark spaces of ether behind the swarm of suns, in the appalling and calm solitudes awaiting the breath of future creations.

Joseph Conrad: Lord Jim, 1900


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Another beauty, Tom, the cadence of the first stanza is sublime ... fantastic visuals and ...

Can it really be that Conrad learned English as a third language? This prose is positively transcendent - perhaps even Mr. Nabokov would find (I first wrote fine, a Freudian slip if ever there was one) it flawless.


TC said...


Many thanks, my friend.

I could imagine Nabokov writing those sentences.

Learned English in both cases results in a product that is perceptibly "made".

ACravan said...

I can only echo Don's praise. I've been engaged in what can loosely be called "bird research" over the past day, and seeing these images at the close of that effort is fascinating. Like Conrad, the unknown Japanese artist makes his mirroring work look easy. Whenever I think of the geniuses who learned to write beautifully in a language that wasn't their native tongue, I recall the line in that John Cale song, Gideon's Bible, describing, I believe, his own transition from Welsh to English: "Moving up the golden ropes of a foreign language/Stretching out verbs and nouns together in a greeting." The Conrad passage is breathtaking. Curtis



"Later the light
spike heel hoof
click. . ."

"Bird flying with faint crescent moon in background: artist unknown. . ."


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, waning white moon next to branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

left at this point, so that
those that remain are

things called that, variant
form, element defined

blinding silver edge of sun above ridge,
curved whiteness of moon across from it

Nin Andrews said...

Flawless, yes.
The perfect way to start the morning, a trip over to this blog.

TC said...

Thanks, everyone, for these sips of moonlight.

(Gideon's Bible, what a great song.)

snowbird said...

Such posts... even the praise seems a disturbance. Entering the silence I hear the music still. In gratitude, Merrill

TC said...

Thank you, Merrill. You may disturb us in thus wise any time.

Robb said...



Robb said...


Loretta Markell said...

I just discovered your blog and it's a wondrous place. I borrowed one of your poems and a picture of the waning crescent moon to post on my facebook page called luna adoration society. I hope this is not a problem. If it is just let me know and I will delete.

TC said...

Hi Loretta, and thanks for letting me know.

I can't access Facebook so alas I won't be able to join your lunar adoration society (other than in spirit!).

The poem should be presented as "copyright Tom Clark, 2011".

And it would be swell if you could put a link to my blog on that page, so that others can look.