And the moon will be yours to do whatever you like
October 17, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Help me find this poem that involves the moon! I can't remember it but can remember the feeling I had when reading it!

There is this poem that I used to know very well. It doesn't rhyme. It's in the first person. It takes place at night. The narrator is talking to someone and talks about them coming to visit him at his office (or home?) at night. And there's a line about how the narrator will give the hearer the moon, and she can do whatever she likes with it, tie it up outside her house by the river.

Please help, mefites! I have missed this poem.

It is a poem with images of night, stars, lights.
posted by Frowner to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Isn't this just that one part of it's a wonderful life
posted by MangyCarface at 8:26 AM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: Nope. It's actually sort of famous in contemporary poetry circles but I can't remember who wrote the goddamn thing. It's very hard to describe - you try googling "moon poem" and you get a bunch of slish.
posted by Frowner at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2012

This is probably not it, but worth a read anyway: The Prediction by Mark Strand.
posted by mattbucher at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, and now I found it. It's "Moon Fragment" by Everett Maddox:

A man squats by the railroad tracks tonight
eating a moon fragment: not cheese
at all, but a honeydew melon. His hands
are fuzzy. A train roars past. In the
lighted windows men and women stand
with pewter cups raised. Tea slops out.
Then it is dark again. Moon-eaters have
no time for such foolishness. The silence
is not absolute, though, because the world’s
longest accordion, the world’s longest
musical expansion bridge, is playing
somewhere. I am up in my office
watching the glitter of my last cigar sail
out the window, over the shrubbery, down
into the darkness where summer is
ending. I keep office hours at night so
nobody comes around to bother me. Not even
you. The moon comes around, though. I want to
drag it down and hand it to you and say, “Here,
this is lovely and useless and it cost me
a lot of trouble. You can tie it up on
the river behind your house, and go down to
look at it whenever you like.” The trouble is,
you don’t want it tied up, and you are
right. This is no new problem. Eight hundred
years ago a man heads home from the
Fair, pushing a wheelbarrow full of real
moon pies. For ten years he has been
stealing wheelbarrows, and nobody even
suspects. Well, what is all this? you
want to know. Right again. I could
say I don’t know myself because the evidence
is not all in, never will be. I could say it’s
the unfinished moon poem I’ve always wanted
to almost write. Well, what is it all about? you
ask. What does it mean? You have me
there. It means, whatever this is between
you and me, I hope it’s not over, and good-by.

I really like the image of the moon on a string bobbing on the river.
posted by Frowner at 9:06 AM on October 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

I know you've found what you wanted (and it's lovely) but I suspect you might like this also.

Oh Mercy

Only the billionth person
to glance up at the moon tonight
which looks bald, high-browed and professorial to me,

the kind of face I always shook my fist at
when I was seventeen
and every stopsign was a figure of authority

that had it in for me
and every bottle of cold beer
had a little picture of my father on the label

for smashing down in parking lots
at 2 AM, when things devolved
into the dance of who was craziest.

That year, if we could have reached the moon,
if we could have shoplifted the paint and telescoping ladders,
we would have scribbled FUCK YOU

on its massive yellow cheek,
thrilled about the opportunity
to offend three billion people

in a single night.
But the moon stayed out of reach,
imperturbable, polite.

It kept on varnishing the seas,
overseeing the development of grapes in Italy,
putting the midwest to bed

in white pajamas.
It's seen my kind
a million times before

upon this parapet of loneliness and fear
and how we come around in time
to lifting up our heads,

looking for the kindness
that would make revenge unnecessary.

Tony Hoagland. (I always loved the concept of writing "Fuck You" on the moon, and think of it quite often when I look up.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:26 AM on October 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: That is very happy-making. So is the one that mattbucher linked. While we're on the topic of moon poems, here is another one that I have always liked:

Sad Steps
By Philip Larkin

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.

Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There’s something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate—
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can’t come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

posted by Frowner at 10:54 AM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

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