arts / poetry / writing

Moonshadow 2015

A partial eclipse of the sun takes place on Friday morning, March 20.
Here are two poems about the previous solar event.

Moonshadow 1999

They said it would get darker as the moon consumed the sun,
but it didn’t.
The light was pellucid,
a sort of silvery-grey twilight,
like the cusp between darkness and dawn.
No birds sang,
but somewhere in the distance
a dog kept barking.
Children gazed at the sky through darkened eyeglasses and pinholed cereal cartons
and chattered loudly about the progress of the totality.The Bible teaches that as Moses grew close to the brightness that is God
he moved into darkness.
So, as I am consumed by your darkness
my soul is filled with light, banishing the black terrors of the past
and their uncertain cousins from the future.
And as the moonshadow ate its way across the sun
the clouds cleared,
the air grew light,
and the trees, hills and rocks
jumped out into stereoscopic clarity.

It was very cold
and a wind chilled my skin.
All four of us hugged in glee.
These were special moments,
special like the carpet of trees across the valley,
like each leaf of grass embossed by shadow,
like wandering away for a snatched moment in the lee of a big rock,
like coffee and toasted teacakes in the glen cafe,
like the after-image of the gobbling moon burned into our brains.

Later, the TV images of a blazing wedding ring
had nothing in common
with the magic
of those long two minutes of the eclipse.
The moonshadow passed,
as must all things.
But your dark brilliance in my soul
does not pass.
Infinity minus one
still equals infinity.

August 11, 1999-August 31, 2002


On Seeing the 1999 Eclipse on TV

The day the sun went out was really two years before my own sun was extinguished.

We walked away together, holding hands over the rocks, in a monochromic world where we were each the only colour in the other’s eyes.

Today the sun shines and roses bloom in the gardens,
the hills are purple with heather bells,
but a shadow clouds my eyes and the sky is black.

Birds have stopped singing and a grey wind blows.

Do you miss that sky eclipse when we walked so close?

Do you ever see this grayscale world where the colour of your presence has been drained?

Can you even begin to see through my eyes?

Two years ago the eclipse lasted minutes; birds soon sang; the sun came out.

And we had tea and cakes before we parted, secure in our love that never could have an end.

While, two years later, I still stumble in darkness, waiting in hope that, the shadow will pass, and I shall see my love again.

Walking with me in the sun.

Southsea, August 31, 2002, 20:01

– Cat Stevens, 1977

Where to see the 2015 eclipse

Regions seeing at least a partial eclipse: Europe, North/East Asia, North/West Africa, West in North America, Atlantic, Arctic.

Some cities where at least part of the total eclipse is visible

Some cities where partial eclipse is visible

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