Moon, Shine On
It's one of those nights when the moon slips free of the clouds; one of those nights when the wind blows free, unleashed from the upstarting contours of the land, sweeping, rushing across the wastes of the immortal boundless sea, finally arriving aimless and energetic at some newfound destination. Moonlight shines across the long bays, in which great brother waves press on under the moon's bright face, bright as death's scythe, press on roaring until they come to rest, flat and quiet, on the moonlit shore. Heroes young and old held vigil on nights like these; memories of the god-feasts, the dark woods, the sacred tree dim and nearly gone now. In those days witches could doctor the dark, pull down the moon if they had to; fearful Nicias, famed Athenian sent to war in Sicily didn't need a moon sunk to earth, heeded instead the omen of a technicolor moon, dimming to naught; waited, waited, too long hesitating, then at the wrong time retreating, led his army to its doom. But gracious fellow-travelers, lovers of the glory that was, these days it's the self-same moon, stripped of portents, floats over Cuba, floating over Miami, too, over a moon-startled girl feeling her boy bent over her, passionate in her, starting his rhapsody of movement. Overhead, in the heavens, embarrassed constellations look off in all directions, seeing all, and not wanting to see, goosed, tormented, by an expanding universe sending them on their way and down below, by the light of the silent indifferent moon a boy and a girl coming together in a paratactical now, in a perfection of now and no wild Nicias moon turning red, blue and sallow to spoil the moment with foreboding, to slow or speed the whole shebang from measured order to some desperate fatal mistake.
There is that in God which is not gaud feeding the chickens Honorius muttered in Latin, not brooking a report that Rome had how you say? had been like a chicken its neck wrung. Jesus, the beautiful faces, Vestals, the villas where Sallust the beautiful noble stones the shithouses, aqueducts, roads ROME DEAD? but she fed the world a long time fed a line of law and reason Respect: Lars Porsenna and the bloody emperors hairy Vandals Alaric alert Neal All honor her hills, her people, her purple covered the steppes, commanded the western isles. In the ruins of Rome, in Illyria, in Britain, bitter winter brings down heaven’s wrath; hailstones spatter like pennies, clattering on bronze and marble alike. We will not see Hadrian again rebuilding the walls.
You can’t hide your hideway when beggars come calling; every haven has its day, every port and refuge; the cold tomorrows come out of the distance like icebergs, unstable as emperors, demanding as children and food for thought feeds no one. Your secret place, your kingly manse? Don’t board up all the doors, your earthly paradise has a few snakes inside and minstrels and other rabble wait outside to knock down all. You alone unhidden unbidden stand prominent as a sequoia, Simon of the stele. Revelation is God’s alone; hidden in the deep, his submarine love discovers all secret places; you are naked as a jaybird in his sight. So cast it all away, armed in your own flesh go voyaging. Surrender is a place impregnable and portable as heaven.
Napoleon, shake your iron off; invincible, able on Elba you were mourning ere you saw the glory of the days coming and the days twisted up, by- gone.
Blonde she was on the boulevard, in moonlight, in crescent of moon-grin; golden hairs white as Lear’s under moonlight; the old power coming easy as Paris faring through the Dardanelles. The moon, flat as a cookie, sails higher; wreaths of smoke lie fallow in space. But blonde on a bicycle goes fast and quiet; the ripple of her passing disturbs all of us, wandering on the foreshore of no adventure. Home, Palinurus; turn the rudder and home. No blondes heave to in the moonlight; your bed, empty and wide as a car, awaits you.
A.U.C was published 14 years ago in Poetry Bay, Dulce Domum in 2017 in Pif Magazine, Elba several years ago in Zombie Logic Review, and Dearth in Duane’s Poetree. Moon has never been published.
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Chamber Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.