I did manage to get up this morning at about 5:20am, put on my glasses and my uggboots and stumble blearily down the stairs to watch the moon turning from white to red. Like all things lunar, it was slow and beautiful and mysterious. A web search for “eclipse” turns up a deal of guff about vampires, but it also turns up this splendid poem by Thomas Hardy. How indeed shall we link such sun-cast symmetry with the torn troubled form of Earth?
Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.
How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry
With the torn troubled form I know as thine,
That profile, placid as a brow divine,
With continents of moil and misery?
And can immense Mortality but throw
So small a shade, and Heaven's high human scheme
Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies?
Is such the stellar gauge of earthly show,
Nation at war with nation, brains that teem,
Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?