But look, the moon has risen!

Drawing Down the Moon


I place on the sill a saucer
that I fill with water:
it rocks with a tidal motion,
as if that porcelain round
contained a small sea:
this threshold ocean
throws into confusion
the image that it seizes
out of the sky – the moon
just risen, and now in pieces
beneath the window: the glass
takes in the image at its source,
a clear shard of newness,
and lets it into the house
from pane to pane
riding slowly past:
when I look again
towards the sill, its dish
of moonlight is recomposing:
it lies still, from side to side
of the ceramic circle
curving across the water,
a sleeping bride:
for the moon’s sake
do not wake her,
do not shake the saucer.

from The Vineyard Above the Sea (Oxford Poets/Carcanet, 1999), copyright Charles Tomlinson 1999, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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