Moon

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 107 and Timelessness

Coverage

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Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Suppos’d as forfeit to a confin’d doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur’d,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assur’d,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since, spite of him, I’ll live in this poor rime,
While he insults o’er dull and speechless tribes:
And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.


The idea of timelessness, eternity, immortality must be true as we wish, look and aim for it in some way or the other. Imagining living continuously, building and creating happy ways of life, chiselling and shaping the continuous source of happiness, we forgetfully live with the idea of forever.

The decisive time gone by, the melting present and the secret future, though definite, knows the indefinite. And one is lured, naturally, to know and identify with the indefinite. Why? For the indefinite is the absolute. So? The absolute appears to be complete, eternal, beyond the cyclic drama and free. Then? We may be a part of it or we too may want to be complete. And so? I don’t know, I am living forgetfully with the idea of forever, remember.

Shakespeare, the greatest and most famous playwright ever, via his works, attained immortality and this is what he celebrated in Sonnet 107. Full of creative splendour, he announced his lead on rusty cenotaphs and statues of the rulers.


The Battle at Gavelines and Elizabeth I at Tilbury (Pastiche).
The painting presents a stylized account of the battle of Gravelines between the Spanish Armada and the English fleet, including the beacons, Elizabeth’s address at Tilbury, and the battle itself in a single montage on three jointed pieces of fine tabby-weave linen. 
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

“The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured”

That the grand, rock-hard, grave and lovely moon too continues its finite journey, eroding gradually, black red white, suggests that the moon knows well the infinite’s will. Or else why will it so humbly accept its role? This long journey, then, is no less than a quiet meditation. The deep circular craters are the timekeepers and the moon knows it.

One of William Shakespeare’s renowned 154 Sonnets, Sonnet 107 is often linked with the contemporary events of the time: the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), Queen Elizabeth’s death (in 1603), the Long Turkish War (1593-1606); the Armada charged in a crescent formation, Queen Elizabeth was also called Cynthia (name of the Greek moon goddess), the Ottoman Empire’s flag boasted the crescent moon symbol.

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Elizabeth I of England.
The portrait was made to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada (depicted in the background).
[Source – Wikipedia]

In times so precarious, one would want to hold on to a secure thought or remember the limits of mortality, mocking unabashedly the warmongers and peace-lovers alike, or even hope to create something timeless.


Read the wonderfully crisp commentary on Sonnet 107, here.

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First image from Pixabay


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The Moon’s Job

Our Moon Connection.
[Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay]

The Moon’s not shy,

Your winking eye

Knows a secret.

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The Moon’s not singing

Your composition

In a bar.

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The Moon’s not dreaming

Your lovely dream

In the dream-world.

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The Moon’s always only listening

To your stories,

Patiently till the end,

Passing messages at times,

Giving hints

To the storyteller

And the painter…

Messages and hints of love…


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More posts for Moon Lovers –

To The Moon And Back

Moon Colour

Crescent Moon Lights

In Slo-mo Towards the Moon

The Moon is Moving


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To The Moon And Back

Reaching for the moon, love,
In Gemini G4C suit, love,
Will bring some for you, love,
Papery pieces of the surface,
If not a piece of moon, love.

Our love affair with the moon is an open secret; waning, waxing, crescent, full, each phase has been glorified and studied by the curious minds. The silvery moonlight never fails to express.

In poems like The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon by J. R. R. Tolkien, Half Moon in a High Wind by Carl Sandburg, The Freedom of the Moon by Robert Frost, The Moon Was But a Chin Of Gold by Emily Dickenson, The Mother Moon by Louisa May Alcott, Mrs Moon by Roger McGough, in paintings like Caspar David Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819), James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturne, Blue and Gold—Southampton Water (1872), Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889), the artists reveal and revel in the moony secret.

Caspar David Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819). [Source – Wikipedia]
James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturne, Blue and Gold—Southampton Water (1872). [Source – Google Arts & Culture
Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889). [Source – Wikipedia]

What is the moony secret? It is the personal conversation that one has with the moon. It is intense yet quick, fierce yet soothing, honest yet an illusion.

Sidereus Nuncius (Latin for Sidereal/ Starry Messenger or Sidereal Message; published in 1610) talks in-depth about the moony secret; it is an astronomical treatise written by Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science.

Title page of Sidereus Nuncius by Galileo Galilei (1610). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

Becoming one of the first few who used a telescope to study the surface of the moon (along with some constellations and Jupiter’s four moons) Galileo discovered that the moon was not translucent and ‘a perfect sphere’ like Aristotle had believed it to be, that it had mountains and craters which were formed after it was hit by asteroids and comets, just like our planet Earth was.

Galileo’s sketches of the moon from Sidereus Nuncius (1610). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

The moon is imperfect (its surface is irregular), said Galileo’s theory, and this magnificent, and at the same time, tumultuous discovery brought it (the moon) closer to us mortal beings, providing exhaustive research material for the future scientists, accelerating the world towards a change.

“And yet it (Earth) moves”, a rebellious phrase at that time, allegedly spoken by Galileo, led to his imprisonment.

The Copernican heliocentric view (1543) that the Sun is in the centre of the solar system, with Earth and the other planets orbiting around it in circular paths, was a theory which Galileo studied and defended.

Centuries later, Galileo’s moony secret reached the moon when astronaut David Scott, during the 1972 Apollo 15 mission, demonstrated through the ‘Falling Bodies’ experiment what Galileo had proved long back, that the “acceleration is the same for all bodies subject to gravity on the Moon, even for a hammer and a feather” (watch the video here).

A view of the Apollo 11 lunar module “Eagle” as it returned from the surface of the moon to dock with the command module “Columbia”; the Earth in the background (21st July 1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

A space race between the USA and the Soviet Union led to many successful moon exploration missions, both manned and unmanned ones.

While the US Surveyor probes (1966-1968) transmitted 87,000 pictures of the surface of the moon and measured its chemical properties, the manned missions brought back pieces of the moon; Apollo 11 alone brought 47.5 pounds (21.5 Kg) of the lunar material.

‘Papery pieces of the moon, love’
A collage of photographs of the lunar surface sent by the US Surveyor Probe 7 (1966-1968). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]
Astronaut Pete Conrad inspects the Surveyor 3 spacecraft on the Moon (20th November 1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

The twelve people who have walked on the surface of the moon also left behind items, some as meaningful gifts to the moon and some out of necessity as they needed free space to carry moon rocks home.

A golden olive branch, the Bible, a silicon disk inscribed with goodwill messages from world leaders of 74 countries, American flags, a family photo, three golf balls, scientific pieces of equipment and also, bags full of human waste are some of the “artificial objects” still lying, in worn-out or wiped-out condition, on the moon.

Lying there as a symbol of victory, of advancement, of trust and of human life itself – humans, the mortal beings of the lonely planet Earth.

The silicon disc left on moon by Apollo 11 astronauts (1969). [Source – Wikipedia]
Fallen Astronaut, a statuette, and a plaque were placed on the surface of the moon by astronaut Hadley Rille in remembrance of the astronauts and cosmonauts who died in the advancement of space exploration (1971). [Source – Wikipedia]
Astronaut Charlie Duke’s family portrait left on the surface of the moon (1972). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

Or maybe these items are just a message for the Moon Rabbit who, according to some East Asian folklore, lives on the moon, pounding elixir of life for the moon goddess Chang’e.

After all, Apollo 11 astronauts were also aware of this story; command module pilot Michael Collins had said to the NASA mission control – “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”

An 18th-century embroidered Chinese emperor’s robe. A Chinese dragon; a medallion above it shows the White Hare of the Moon, at the foot of a cassia tree, making the elixir of immortality (18th century). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

We are connecting pieces, we are steadily moving towards the darkness out there, hoping to see the light. We are all reaching out for the moon with our eyes glued to the telescope, our minds calculating the numbers, our hands painting a masterpiece, our words penning an epic, our voices singing a moony melody and our hearts feeling the moony secret.

We have even smelt it (and perhaps even tasted it), the moon, yes we have. The moon dust smelt like burnt gunpowder to most of the astronauts. Quote—

I wish I could send you some, it is amazing stuff, said Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan.
It’s soft like snow, yet strangely abrasive.
Not half bad (sic), said John Young Apollo 16 astronaut.
It smells like spent (sic) gunpowder, said Cernan.

Our love affair with the moon has only grown stronger with time; it is a part of our story and vice-versa, right, dear moon?

Science with its meticulous explorations and art with its colourful gravity will keep bringing us closer to the moon; it will take us to the moon and back.

Till then let us admire the only memento left on the moon that may last for millions of years, which is, the tracks left by the astronauts. Because there is no air or water on the moon, nothing will wipe it off, neither the extreme cold conditions nor the savage sunlight.

Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin photographed this footprint in the lunar soil as part of an experiment to study the nature of lunar dust and the effects of pressure on the surface (1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

Till then let us continue revelling in the moony secret.


Read More Moon Lovers!


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Moon Colour

A touch of the moon colour!
[Image from Pixabay]

A touch of the moon colour and this life will glow and slowly will it know of a love story so pure that has travelled a long distance facing boldly every storm that has become a norm, followed by all, the same ones who secretly, meekly hope for someone to rise, rebel and risk it proudly, showing the world that a heart beats in every being, a heart that falls irrefutably in love, in love with a smile, a gesture, the earth, the sky and the moon… all this life needs is a touch of the moon colour.


Ready for a MOON overdose, read more –

Moon!
The Moon is Singing White Light
In Slo-mo Towards the Moon
Moon, Moon, Moon, Moonlight
The Moon Talks
The Moon is Moving
Crescent Moon Lights


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Crescent Moon Lights

“Crescent moon lights

Buckwheat flowers

This hazy earth.”  

Basho  

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The moon is being carved, I can hear the hammers, the chisels, it is raining white shimmer… the crescent shape will light up every heart soon.  

And the valley of buckwheat flowers will then dance the dance of love, soothing the eyes of a traveller.  

Intoxicated, the earth will then spin and stagger making, as always, a painter’s painting hazy.


Complement this haiku post with similar ones –

Basho’s Haiku Pond

Violets

Fetching Water from a Haiku-Well


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Intervals

Moony music in the air!
[Source – Pixabay]

The beach was audible to her in intervals. She walked bare feet on the sand and still didn’t smile. Rhea had muffled thoughts, a cluster of it, covering her face. And that is why she couldn’t see the beautiful, starry canvas right above her. The sky didn’t twinkle, the waves didn’t play music for her. Like a ghost, locked in some tragic seconds, she moved slowly, that pale thing or maybe the world moved around her, and she stood still.

But the beach was audible to her in intervals. And she unconsciously moved towards the ocean. The interval ended, but it was too late for her to be locked back again… a wave rushed towards and caught her. Rhea took a deep breath and looked down, her feet were wet, the waves danced forward and backward. She smiled before she could stop herself.

Rhea could now hear the gushing ocean, see the sparkling stars, feel the cool wind and the cool sand. She started walking, this time not shying from the waves. She sauntered along the shore, opening her arms and welcoming the wind, the waves and the night sky… the interval overpowered unbeknownst to her.

 


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Bumblebee

Prose Poem

“Towards the Moon flower”, said the Bumblebee.
[Source – Pixabay]

Flying high in the sky reaching for the beautiful white flower named moon, the Bumblebee forgot about home, colours and fragrance of the land.

The wind resisted it, throwing it back and forth. Like a puppet the Bumblebee danced.

It rose up and crossed the cloudy river, river that was flowing to nowhere special, river that was attuned with the Universe.

A tiny spot, a funny Bumblebee approaching its white flower… the moon saw it and decided to wait

 
 

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In Slo-mo Towards the Moon

Poem

A tide of thoughts.
[Source – Pixabay]

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Walking towards the moon

In slo-mo and riding,

Hiding behind a tide of thoughts

In slo-mo, unaware, unconcerned

About the change that is happening

In slo-mo, now and always,

Carrying in bits the old me, turning

In slo-mo, hoping to see

Something better. Living the life

In slo-mo and looking into the future

Where things are picture-perfect, but moving

In slo-mo. Cracks in the present

For it isn’t that dear, until

In slo-mo I sit with patience and

Breathe, see, feel and realise

That everything is beautiful,

That our mind knows the tricks,

That reality simply is, just like the moon,

Towards which I am walking

In slo-mo, beaming quietly. 

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Moon, Moon, Moon, Moonlight

Cheers, dear moon!”
[Source – Pixabay]

In the search of a moon Haiku poem, I found how beautifully a 21st century poet addressed to his favourite classic poet –

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… lifting my cup, 

I asked the moon

to drink with me …

Li Po

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And if Li Po had

got the moon in his mitts

what would he have done with it?

Cid Corman

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Today, I decided, I will stay with these words and leave rest of the search for tomorrow.

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Moon was its usual self,

I was the one, lost and fuzzy,

Moonlight still showed the way.

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Moon!

Poem

[Image by Heiko Stein from Pixabay]

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Radiant spot

A lover’s thought

Behind the leaves

Who weaves?

Open eyes gaze at you

I turn, can still see you

Moon Shadowy Moon

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The radiant moon always shines in the darkness to guide, to listen, to dance and sing, always in the mood for love.
Image by Jagriti Rumi.

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