From early on, from boyhood, I was haunted by chalk landscapes which I first saw from the back of my parents' car. Many years later I looked at paintings by Paul Nash who was also obviously haunted by the same and similar chalk landscapes. This poem is called 'Landscape of the Daylight Moon'.

Landscape of the Daylight Moon


I first saw it inland.
Suddenly, round white sides
Rose through the thin grass
And for an instant, in the heat,
It was dazzling; but afterwards
I thought mainly of darkness,
Imagining the relics of an original
Sea under the chalk, with fishes
Beneath the fields. Later,
Everywhere upon its surface
I saw the life of the dead;
Circle within circle of earthen
Shells, and in retraced curves
Like finger marks in pale sand,

The print of a primaeval lover.
Once, climbing a dusty track,
I found a sunshaped urchin,
With the sun’s rays, white
With the dusts of the moon.
Fetish, flesh become stone,
I keep it near me. It is
A mouth on darkness, the one
Inexhaustible source of re-creation.

from Cut of the Light: Poems 1965-2005 (Enitharmon Press, 2006), © Jeremy Hooker 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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