Posted by: John Looker | 23 September, 2011

HARVEST MOON

Here is poem for autumn, for fall. It’s a concrete poem, in which the blog presents text on the screen in the shape of a full moon. It might not work on every device or in a different format.

   

HARVEST MOON



this moon

grown large and lush
through the heady autumn air
ribbed and orange like a pumpkin
low in the sky almost too heavy to lift
round as a belly big with full term baby
making its presence so abundantly clear
that heads are turned and eyes captured
drawn repeatedly to this hovering image
that carries a hint of light into the fields
where for millennia men have stooped
with backs on fire into the evening
to bring their harvest home
this hallowed moon
still pulls

     

   

© John Stevens 2011

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Responses

  1. what a beautiful poem.. and i love your presentation of it… 🙂

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  2. very cool John!

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  3. This is so beautiful, that shape is absolutely perfect as a moon, and it’s flow still looks so natural. Fantastic! 🙂

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  4. Getting the circle right took some patience, didn’t it? I looked at the html code and it looks like you just centered each line, which means a lot of work getting each line to fit while still retaining the integrity of the line. I confess, I don’t like concrete poetry. While it’s true that all poetry has its ‘concrete’ aspect, in that it must take some shape on the page/ screen, still, a poem about the moon in the shape of a moon…?
    Okay, I will put my prejudices aside and let the moon rise in the night sky. this moon grown large and lush through the heady autumn air…
    It’s pretty up there. Come on, kids, let’s try reading it top and bottom alternate lines: this moon still pulls grown large and lush this hallowed moon through the steady autumn air…
    Hum. Let’s start in the middle. That heads are turned and eyes captured making its presence so abundantly clear drawn repeatedly to this hovering presence round as a baby…
    …through the heady autumn air with backs on fire into the evening…
    …where for millennia men have stooped low in the sky almost too heavy to lift…
    Not bad for a full moon, John. I can’t wait to see what it says as wanes…
    …this moon lush air kin to lift baby clear…
    No, I’m kidding with this last one. But only the last one. Who says you have to look at a picture from top to bottom? You read it as your eye tells you. Did you see this as a poem—or should I say poems—in the round?
    Or is this the result of the centering process?
    The moon must be sacred this time of year. Consider Gary Snyder’s—
    Gratitude to the Great Sky
    Who holds billions of stars—and goes beyond that—
    beyond all powers and thoughts
    and yet is within us—
    Grandfather Space.
    The Mind is his Wife.

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  5. Thank you everyone – I’m glad you felt it worked.
    Jim, you’re right, I underestimated how difficult it would be to fit words I approved of into that shape. I’ve never tried concrete poetry before and I found that the visual aspect takes over: fitting the shape is the paramount criterion in weighing every word or thought. I liked your teasing play with the order of the lines. Frankly, it’ll be a long while before I try a waning moon!!

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  6. I have never tried a concrete poem but this one works exceedingly well.

    A beautiful poem made more pleasing by its shape.

    The next time I see a full moon I will view it with a different eye.

    David

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  7. “for millennia men have stooped
    with backs on fire ”
    Love that line…

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  8. Lovely!

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  9. Thank you for these additional kind remarks.
    Don’t stare at the full moon too long, David – I did recently and I’m sure it was lunacy that induced me to attempt these lines in this shape!

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  10. Perfect, John – I’ve been out there harvesting in the moonlight with my ‘back on fire’ and this beautiful poem captures it exactly. Tne harvest moon is one of the loveliest and strangest sights we have in these islands, and you’ve done it absolute justice – brilliant.

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  11. Hi Mr john,good to see your blog its refreshing,hope you will visit mine too:)

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  12. Yes, concrete poems are much more difficult than they appear. Great job on that part of it alone. And the poem itself is wonderful! I love how it is inclusive of men, and also that full belly, because my daughter is expecting our first grandchild! Perfect end line/words.

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    • Thank you! And what a lovely event to look forward to!

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  13. Excellently done, on several levels. I shall return to have a more leisureky browse through your site.

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    • Many thanks! I hope the rest of the site doesn’t disappoint.

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  14. Excellent job with this.

    The structure is brilliant and the words fit perfectly.

    Great work here.

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    • Thank you for commenting – and I’m delighted you think it worked ok.

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  15. I just came across this poem while picking up your URL for my blogroll – it’s so lovely! None of the lines, words or images sound forced or contrived at all; on the contrary, they are original and beautiful. That must have been so hard to achieve. It looks stunning on the page; I’m so impressed. What a pity that red typeface (or similar) would be difficult to read!

    PS. I thought I had subscribed to your blog a while ago but I’m not sure if I have been receiving your posts. I just subscribed again. Fingers crossed.

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    • That’s most generous of you; thank you! You are right that it was hard to do – took me much longer than I had expected. Seeing the moon came first; next the idea for a short descriptive poem; then the foolish ambition to write the piece in this shape. Quite mad really!

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  16. Good Lord. The work this must have taken. I can write sonnets, odes, ballads, free verse, blank verse, and so on and so on, but a round, perfect moon that manages to still make perfect image and sense? May your shining light up the stars in your universe and find all the craters still in place. Wonderful. I have been reading your other poems too, and you are an excellent poet working your craft well.

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    • What a generous comment this is. Thank you so much. I’ve taken a look at your own blog and discovered what a talented family you all are – in poetry, art and photography too.

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  17. Concrete poetry is so hard but you have avoided the easy way out and each word seems perfectly placed. It really seems to be a sunset – quite magical.

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    • Hello Kiersty. Thank you. I think you are much better at the visual presentation of poems than I’ll ever be.

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  18. gorgeous friend. both in form and content.

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  19. I loved this hallowed moon poem!

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    • Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for telling me this!

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  20. Been catching up on my reading lately. This is a wonderful ‘concrete’ or ‘shape’ poem, Don’t know how I missed seeing it before this.

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  21. Hi, John

    May I repost this on my blog? Fully acknowledged to you, of course, with a link to your blog.

    It’s a wonderful piece. 🙂

    BB

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    • I would be delighted! It is a great compliment to be asked. Thank you.

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  22. Reblogged this on Bennison Books.

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  23. […] blog, The poetry:prose/prose:poetry converter. (The original version of this poem can be found here; the version below uses a much larger font than John’s original — which seems to hover […]

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  24. I have returned to enjoy this again, the full harvest moon having shone on us this week. It is such a gorgeous poem. I probably already mentioned somewhere that I tried a concrete poem once in the shape of a broken heart, and that was with a manual typewriter. I was able to keep to a nice Valentine out line because I could “cheat” on the crack going down the middle—if that makes any sense to you. Having survived the process you probably feel as I do: never again! But this one turned out beautifully, in form and content, and I’m glad you gave it to us.

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  25. That’s very kind, Cynthia. It’s not something I would rush to do again! Concrete poetry is possibly even more difficult now that we read on electronic devices because the shape changes with variations in font, the font size – even the size of the viewing pane (my moon is a perfect circle on my laptop but elliptical on my phone!).

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  26. Hi, I really enjoy shape poetry and have never heard the expression ‘concrete’ before. Whilst I do mine often, the words from Don MacLean and his Starry Starry Night rings out ‘ re Vincent van Gogh ‘how you suffered for your vanity..’ A close proximation I found lol. I cheated with my crescent moon this time and didn’t take advantage of the code due to time constraints, and now, unwillingness perhaps – the words suffered I feel. But the challenge is the best part.

    This was astounding in both feature and the extravagant talent bestowed on it.

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