Do You See?

>Moonlore From the East


What if the man’s face in the moon wasn’t a man
At all but a woman? A friend asked me.

I said it was always a woman to me, the moon
For she charted our lives from inside and outside
In cycles
That’s how we looked at the moon from towns
By swollen rivers
And eastern monsoon winds.

My first pets were rabbits etched on the moon
Seen from my bedroom window
When storytelling was a rite and people sifted truth from lies.
I wasn’t yet called a moon-faced siren then
Until it became a new moon.

If you’re a hunter, fisherman,
Farmer, gardener,
You know what the moon does to you, your
Forests, noisy crickets and dreamy skies
She’s a jealous rival or a benevolent ladylove.

Earlier the fishermen of my coasts cast lines
Measuring phases of the moon;

If they found her moody and sad
Like their wives or doting like a mother

They stopped wars in honor of the woman-moon
Even when she marched on through her waning
Left-handed gibbous.

They’ve forgotten that pride.

(First published in The Toronto Quarterly, Jan 09. Order copies on Photograph from my porch — 2008 full lunar eclipse in progress.)
NOTES: The Moon, as is the Sun, often in Indian lore, is male. “Chandamama” is literally “moon uncle”, whereas in some other parts of the subcontinent, the moon is a woman, elderly and loving. A female’s progression from girlhood to womanhood is quite commonly compared to the moon’s growing phases. As in other parts of the world, the moon in this region is also a source of myth for emotions, upheavals, changes.

5 comments on “>Moonlore From the East

  1. Rhett
    March 13, 2009

    >”My first pets were rabbits etched on the moonSeen from my bedroom window”O wow. Very well written. Enjoyed.

  2. fleuve-souterrain
    March 14, 2009

    >Hey Rhett! That is so true for me! Thank you!!

  3. tikulicious
    March 17, 2009

    >Nabina I am absolutely in love with this one. I love the various shades of moon and you have written so beautifully. woman moon ..

  4. fleuve-souterrain
    March 17, 2009

    >Thank you Tiku! Themoon is for us a very mysterious object, a purveyor of huge changes in life and politics too…

  5. Anonymous
    March 30, 2009

    >Like this poem a lot… I think it is a woman in the moon as well.Chris Brooks

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2009 by in moon, Moonlore from the East, Nabina Das, poetry, The Toronto Quarterly.
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