Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Moonrise

I awoke in the Midsummer not-to-call night,
in the white and the walk of the morning*:
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe
of a fingernail** held to the candle,
Or paring of paradisaical fruit,***
lovely in waning but lustreless. . .
This was the prized, the desirable sight,
unsought, presented so easily,
Parted me leaf and leaf****, divided me,
eyelid and eyelid of slumber.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins; June, 1876

*A moon just before the new moon will come up just before sun up
**Slim crescent moon, seeming as translucent as a fingernail held up in front of a candle in a dark room (a waning moon)
***Fruit parings also seem translucent; reminds one of the "waning" of the fruit of paradise after sin
****The "magic" of this night cut right through the poet, as if leaves of a book or of a tree parting from each other, then his eyelids were parted from his eyes as he could no longer sleep with such a "spell" on his room


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