Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Luna undarum sive frigoris

by J J Cohen

i. solstice
I didn't set my alarm, trusting body and the moon. 1:28 and sleep gone. Coat and gloves and a keen ice night. A moment and I have it, white circle in bare trees. A crescent of darkness slides its edge.

I am thinking of the oceans, lunar roil on my boyhood tongue: Mare Undarum, Mare Spumans, Mare Imbrium, Mare Ingenii, Mare Cognitum, Mare Nubium, Mare Insularum, Mare Frigoris, seas of waves of foam of showers of cleverness of the known of clouds of islands of cold. Oceanus Procellarum, ocean of ceaseless storms, but as still as any gray dust. Consult the atlas: frigid, arid, dead.

Before I knew Latin I knew the moon seas in their meanings. I knew the wet life of the moon, its tidal pull on our waves, on the water in our skins. Why shouldn't it have troubled rollers of its own?

Wendy came down from bed. We hugged in the cold, and I thought of waking the children, but it was late and they had school. Alone again, I took some pictures, luminous smears on vague black. My camera would not capture the shadow spreading lunar swells. The impossibility seemed just.

ii. maria
Run tempests travel umbra wind. Rhythm of words that pace with me. 5 and I am out again, running with the moon. My constant changeful companion. I romanticize that cold thing. Panpsychism, anthropomorphism, animism. The satellite is frozen and dry.

Lunar indifference cannot hold.

Winter's early mornings draw me, stay with me, even when their coldness hurts. Some clouds drift the low brightness, but it is good to see it round again. The shadow of the earth has passed. I run my circuit, alone but not solitary, thinking about Mandeville and the English star and wandering, of a year that has seen York and Berlin and Barcelona and Bayeux. I am thinking of a childhood haunted by oceans, by the promise of storm and tempest on the moon.

2 comments:

lisa schamess said...

exquisite. am stealing it away for The Soul Kitchen.

but then, one can't steal the moon. only give it.

joan said...

I love it! It reminds me of Stephen Dedalus in "Proteus."