Smoke on the Moon’s Face – an Elegy

So I go on working in our garden of essence
a bent and shawled old lady.

The truth of the child’s face
is kept alight, a sweet fertility beneath
the scar we grew.

Can two old people
in this way together burnt,
meet, exchange a kiss of peace ?

I do not know.  It is a private matter,
old as earth is round.  It is the core
of the apple.

In my ground the tree
drops fruit, and leads me
to the Secret centre.
“Go deep,”
you said,
Oh, my battered love !
“as deep as  you
     possibly can.”

Any place here
may be the gateway opening.
Around you, and our compost burning
love, my thought plunges and is still.

As I straighten in the ground,
the outlawed intensity of you
is beloved.

Walking by the tennis court, I heard
the players and their pocking balls,
and silently, the sea
ran down my face where the lovers played –
bodies of bitter years did devastate
this long enkindled moment.

The Lovers are bodiless.
The Lovers are where I drown.
The Lovers embrace,
and our life is their shadow.

The Lovers appear as silence
and every story merely points
to the moon’s face, where they embrace,
as smoke.

There is no need to explain
to anyone
why you are in my underground
the deepest shaft in London town.

By the tennis courts
near Haverstock Hill,
I heard the muffled
roar of a train deep down;

as bushy brick chimney’s vent,[1]
sunk into the Northern Line,
out-spoke :
by a shattered well
you sat and wept
and wrote from hell
 your sign;

Stepping out of my shoes, I
yet seeing
through your eyes, am blind.

From ‘Poems of Eclipse’ 1999

[1]In a recent excavation in Egypt, sand/topsoil was dusted away from tall chimneys which turned out to be wells.


From Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet: (12 August 1904)

“I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralysing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living.  Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for a moment taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing.  For this reason the sadness too passes, the new thing in us, the added thing has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more – is already in our blood,  And we do not learn what it was.  We could easily be made to believe that nothing has happened, and yet we have changed, as a house changes into which a guest has entered.  

“We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens.  And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closer to life than that other noisy and fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside. 

“The more still, more patient and more open we are when we are sad, so much the deeper and so much the more unswervingly does the new go into us, so much the better do we make it ours, so much the more will it be our destiny, and when on some later day it ‘happens’ (that is, steps forth out of us to others), we shall feel in our inmost selves akin and near to it … The future stands firm, dear Mr Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

“… Only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive, and will himself draw from his own existence …” 

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904


How essential it is to not resist, for it is what life is doing.  I don’t know the “completion” it brings in the future – so let the child breathe.  Be deeply in touch, not alienated into resistant drama.  Embrace it and open;  move with nature;  the mystery comes forth.

Within this quintessence is the woman who sings over the bones.  She needn’t tell or explain.  Just sing, murmur, like the wind, the sky and the rain.  Watch the flowers grow from strange collision.




Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.

COPYRIGHT – All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2019. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s