Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29: The Moon and Mars

Although the moon isn't quite full, it's a breath-taking spectacle rising tonight, big white beaming face peeking over the craggy edge of Mount Battie. Earlier I had learned that the moon and Mars were in conjunction--very close to each other--and that apparently this was the closest we'd be to Mars all year. So after dark I drove into town so I could see them shining above the harbor. As I drove past the mountain, the moon shone against a clear, cold backdrop of deep blue sky, framed by the lacing silhouettes of tree branches, Orion tilted sideways above. And just to the left, Mars, a small, red, unblinking eye. From our perspective, of course, the moon is the largest planet we see, but here on Earth we've often judged wrongly our place in the solar system, let alone the universe.

It's hard to avoid the symbolism of Mars as the god of war. We're a country at war, though we tend to forget that sometimes. In that regard, too, it's all a matter of perspective. From my comfortable life here in coastal Maine, I have the luxury to gaze upon the faces of Mars and Moon, to write a little poem. Elsewhere, I know, it's not like this, and to many, the moon right now must seem like an unresponsive god, bright and full while so much pain and grief and hunger exists around them.

Full moon outshines Mars.
Ignoring distant beauty,
here below--war, grief.

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