Poetry: The contrast of mood in “Moon” by David Wright

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This week has been spent grading and recovering from a recent blow to my school community. I process things so slowly, or maybe most people do, too. It’s emotional compartmentalizing, I think, so everything comes in waves, but it’s never really so dramatic as that…but I think it’s often hard to tell what your body or emotions are going to do in response to a shock.

Regardless of a less-than-desirable week, early Tuesday morning I was fortunate enough to see the infancy of the hunter’s moon that made its grand appearance on the evening of October 20th, 2021. For not being a full moon, it certainly was lively and yellow, which was perfect for an October morning drive.

That is to say, the mood was just right.

Today, I am sharing David Wright’s “Moon” from Five Songs, because it plays with mood expertly and offers a darker feel to a celestial body that is often described brightly. Mood is important to execute in narratives and poetry, and this poem oozes the contrast of a vibrantly full moon and darker images of blood and death. With just the right words, writers have the ability to turn symbols into more haunting images.

“Moon” by David Wright

O up there, zero

Shape illumining

These hills, and that lake—

Puller of water,

Puller of blood, blind

Eye not looking, but

There, opaque, a ball:

Have seen you over

A dead roofscape of

Human sleep; wondered

Why you beat so still.

Even the mobile.

Windy surface of

Ocean seems, under

The quiet metal

Of that refracted

Lambency, gorgon


            Now have seen how,

Soft as a fruit,

Our blueveined mother

The warm, appalling

Earth rises, vapoury,

Over your shoulder.