It Shines on Us All

December 12, 2012

Photo courtesy Mark Carter

I realized a while back that there have been over 850 moons that have gone through their phases since I arrived on the earth, and I haven’t taken the time to look at nearly enough of them. Here Molly Fisk, a California poet, gives us one of those many moons that you and I may have failed to observe. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Hunter's Moon

Early December, dusk, and the sky
slips down the rungs of its blue ladder
into indigo. A late-quarter moon hangs
in the air above the ridge like a broken plate
and shines on us all, on the new deputy
almost asleep in his four-by-four,
lulled by the crackling song of the dispatcher,
on the bartender, slowly wiping a glass
and racking it, one eye checking the game.
It shines down on the fox’s red and grey life,
as he stills, a shadow beside someone’s gate,
listening to winter. Its pale gaze caresses
the lovers, curled together under a quilt,
dreaming alone, and shines on the scattered
ashes of terrible fires, on the owl’s black flight,
on the whelks, on the murmuring kelp,
on the whale that washed up six weeks ago
at the base of the dunes, and it shines
on the backhoe that buried her.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2000 by Molly Fisk, whose most recent book of poetry is The More Difficult Beauty, Hip Pocket Press, 2010. Poem reprinted from The Place That Inhabits Us, Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010, by permission of Molly Fisk and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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  1. Wow, that is a lot of moons! It reminds me of the beginning of a story, many, many moons ago ...

    What a wonderful piece of poetry. I loved it, and it is so true, it does shine on all of us.

    Thanks for your your visit and kind words, Kathy. Here is a hug and a Christmas wish for you too!

    Kathy M.

  2. You're welcome, Kathy. Glad you stopped by and enjoyed the poem. Hope you have a great weekend.

  3. Yes, I feel the same, I have not been aware of many moons in my life, and of other natural magic...I loved that "super moon"...and it brought back memories of the magical childhood times gazing at the moon (that was before we knew what it was...)...There is a sweet children's book by Jane Yolen called The Moon Was the Best, reminds me a wee bit of this poem...

  4. Rita--I've always loved the moon, and I've been outside to look at our "super moon" recently. There's something so enchanting about it.