31st January 2002

The very bright full moon recently made me think about the patches, shapes and patterns on our satellite's surface that we see and make pictures from.  Here's  Carl Sagan:

'What do we actually see when we look up at the Moon with the naked eye? We make out a configuration of irregular bright and dark markings - not a close representation of any familiar object. But, almost irresistibly, our eyes connect the markings, emphasizing some, ignoring others. We seek a pattern, and we find one. In world myth and folklore, many images are seen: a woman weaving, stands of laurel trees, an elephant jumping off a cliff, a girl with a basket on her back, a rabbit, the lunar intestines spilled out on its surface after evisceration by an irritable flightless bird, a woman pounding tapa cloth, a four-eyed jaguar. People of one culture have trouble understanding how such bizarre things could be seen by the people of another.'

Personally, the only thing I ever see is a crab's claw (as Charlie Brown once said when he and Linus were looking at the shapes of clouds, 'I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind').

Full Moon and Little Frieda

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -

And you listening.
A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm
wreaths of breath -
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.

'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.

- Ted Hughes

King of the perennial holly-groves, the riven sandstone:  overlord of the M5:  architect of the historic rampart and ditch, the citadel at Tamworth, the summer hermitage in Holy Cross:  guardian of the Welsh Bridge and the Iron Bridge:  contractor to the desirable new estates:  saltmaster:  money-changer:  commissioner for oaths:  martyrologist:  the friend of Charlemagne.

'I liked that,' said Offa, 'sing it again.'

- Geoffrey Hill, Mercian Hymns


In this mountain village,
shining in my soup bowl,
the bright moon arrives

- Issa, 1763-1827

Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once.

home ~ retrobhikku