Stages of Solar Eclipse


There is light not from stars now, out in the silent blue.
Somewhere a bird wakes, startled by his own first note.
She shivers, turns over, draws the blanket up to her throat.
Outside wind, first rustle of day, ruffles the bamboos,
A girl, come of age, in green taffeta and dancing shoes.

Ushas, sister of night, lovely mother of the sun,
Changeable and, John Donne, I smile and am prepared
to swear
I can this moment lay hand on a woman true and fair.
And cold eye, in first cold light, thinks he can apprehend
The wind that serves to advance an honest mind.

Here now, in face of change, I prove that arresting art
Can pin all space down to this point in our bed,
Can for the prospective child create a launching pad.
So this moment Love, I again put hand on heart,
Even as one night’s gas of stars is guttering out.

And I contract to him the future and the stars.
Each moment we’ll set a station to disprove that hope
Probes only a blind eye far end of the telescope.
Looking in your eyes just now I saw,
Quite clear within the moment, Omega.

Night’s thin coda on the stream has now begun
To submit to mounting pressure of birdsong;
Daylight from our window sets your eyelids just
Questioning the standard measure of your breast;
Night lies disarrayed before the rising sun.

Now soon the sun will break from the topmost branch
To set, my love, our double bed aflame.
Morning has come round again.
Now we dismiss the cold light at a glance.
Come, true heart, get out of bed – and dance.

from Welcombe Overtures (Revised edition, The Write Factor, 2012), © John Moat 1987, used by permission of the author

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