Mass of the Moon Eclipse
Not more slowly than frayed
human attention can bear,
but slow enough to be stately, deliberate, a ritual
we can't be sure will indeed move
from death into resurrection.
As the bright silver inch by inch
is diminished, options vanish,
life's allurements. The last silver
lies face down, back hunched, a husk.
But then, obscured, the whole sphere can be seen
to glow from behind its barrier shadow: bronze,
unquenchable, blood-light. And slowly,
more slowly than desolation overcame, overtook
the light, the light
is restored, outspread in a cloudless pasture of
spring darkness where firefly planes
fuss to and fro, and humans
turn off their brief attention
in secret relief.
No matter: the rite
contains its power, whether or not
our witness rises toward it;
grandeur plays out the implacable drama
without even flicking aside our trivial
fail to respond.
we are spoken to, and sometimes
we do stop, do, do give ourselves leave
to listen, to watch. The moon,
the moon we do after all
love, is dying, are we to live
on a world without moon? We swallow
a sour terror.
that coppery sphere,
no-moon become once more
full-moon, visible in absence.
And still without haste, silver
increment by silver
increment, the familiar, desired,
is given again,
given and given.
from This Great Unknowing: Last Poems,
1999, New Directions Press