Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.
I learnt these words as a schoolgirl but can only ever recall the first two lines. I like the poem better than I did when I was young but perhaps that is because I was tasked then to learn it without first discussing it.
For many years I disliked the moon, found it cold and somehow frightening, too remote, in no measure romantic. In recent times I have learnt to appreciate its distant beauty, to wonder at the mysteries it might hold and eventually unfold. It is almost unbelievable that men have set foot on its surface – how extraordinary that mere humans have found a way to explore such far-flung satellites and still find that there is yet more to discover.
Now I gaze at the moon in its regular phases, try to capture it in photographs and marvel at the varying hues at various times of the year or in diverse weather conditions.