Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Poetry Break: "Nocturne Eternal"

Waning Crescent Moon
September 21, 1984
Pacific Time

Here's an old, dark, depressing poem of mine from way back in 1984, which I offer here as new, light, uplifting entertainment:
Nocturne Eternal
A sliver moon inclines oblique,
athwart the far horizen. Its
lunar luminescence sleek
alights in anxious fits.

The jaundice glow illuminates
a slately silhouette -- nimbus
to an avatar in a late-
sight incarnation. Shadows rust

upon the earth, upon the ground,
as though the far celestial vault
had stayed the world's diurnal round
and left us both here timeless caught

to bear a neverending now.
This late, I hesitate to speak
for fear I have forgotten how.
Thus silent, I outwait our bleak

eternal moment until she
abruptly sounds me out. "If
to interrupt your reverie . . .
it is because I sense a rift

divides your thoughts from mine. I mad-
den at your silences. Please fill
me in what's on your mind." My sad
smile slips unseen into the chill.

Encapsulated with the night,
I keep my visage in the shade,
and wear my features out of sight,
and leave her fears yet unallayed.

The frozen tension in the air
constrains all conversation; cold
moonshine gleams in her icy hair . . .
ah, how this moment has grown old.
Well . . . I'm glad that's over. Doubtless, you are, as well. A bit too much entertainment, really.

Ironic apologies to T. S. Eliot in his juvenilia...



At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For once I am soooo glad you chose The History Of Science for your PhD.

"The jaundice glow illuminates..."


At 6:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Rather than the medical field, you mean?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something like that. But then if it had been "your" chosen field you wouldn't be blogging from your current location so: in any case, I reckon, turned out for the best.

Oh, one question-jaundice-noun or transitive verb?


At 7:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The word "jaundice" you mean? It's a noun used as an adjective. I don't like the sound of "jaundiced glow."

But perhaps I ought to observe the proprieties...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:24 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

what is a "slately" silhouette?

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, it's a pun on "stately" -- and intended to give a sense of the darkness (i.e., from the color of "slate") that the poem elsewhere conveys.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Aren't you too glad he chose another field?

I admit, he has put up poems he (claimed to have) authored, that didn't..., well I ain't gonna put that up on a "G-Rated" site. But now I wonder if we should get into the "plagiarism checker?"


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Is the poem that bad? Or just sad?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit it. I had to go to the dictionary to ensure I had the proper definition of transitive verb in mind:

"1. make somebody cynical: to alter somebody's attitude for the worse"

Now I don't think you've made me cynical Doctor but well, maybe your "Eternal" did adjust my attitude.


At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll put it this way: a Professor I once enjoyed described his definition of poetry as, "a word creation that evokes a feeling or emotion..."

Or something like that. You have accomplished that-for me. Now I think I'll get off this computer and make a dentist's appointment.


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

And I thought that a poem had to be sweet to cause cavities...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well when I read it this morning it does seem somewhat sweet.

Funny how 8 hours of sublimity can really be such a treat.


At 9:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sublimation always helps...

Jeffery Hodges

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