Claire de Lune

Poem by Leslie Monsour

What is this fascination with the moon,
Especially in its fullest, final phase?
It makes a common and inconstant muse,
With borrowed light that gives the palest rays,
Inspiring platitudes and maudlin praise.

It idles in the rangy eucalyptus,
Reclusive in its cool, albino gloom;
Then, like a watchman on his graveyard rounds,
Directs its chalky glow into our room,
And Debussy emerges from his tomb.

And then, there is the matter of indifference:
For all our fancying, the moon’s a cold
And lifeless satellite. Outweighed and cast
Involuntarily into earth’s hold,
It chills to silver sunlight’s borrowed gold.

Yet we adore our loyal evening escort.
Despite its flaws, it draws us without trying
And stirs us with its hedonistic wholeness;
Then goes in tactful stages of goodbying,
As if to teach the grace of timely dying.


American Arts Quarterly, Winter 2014, Volume 31, Number 1