Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Gibbous Moon

an image posted by A.K. Entingh

Dear reader,

I have fallen increasingly into the habit of adding images, captions and notes to my posts of poems.  I realize that these things might be distracting or burdensome, and I apologize for this.

In my limited experience, the words and lines of a poem only convey their full meaning on being read with full attention.  For all but the best of poems, this does not occur spontaneously.  Some sustained effort is needed.
One has to clear one's mental clutter and also not hurry through. The entire poem usually needs to be read through at least twice, in a somewhat meditative mode of mind.

Nowadays, for most of us, this is contrary to our usual mode of reading, especially when looking at a screen. Given the times we live in, this is understandable.

Some of us are also struggling to survive. We each have to try to cope with not only our routine duties and responsibilities but also the vagaries and blows of fortune. This can be overwhelming.

So an e-mailed link to a post on a poetry blog might not be the best of pairings.  Adding yet more distractions could be very unwise.

Images might at times enhance the experience of reading a poem, but extraneous textual material, acting like noise, often detracts from it.  Much more than in prose, the mood or flow is interrupted.

Of course, there is occasionally a need for a preface or for footnotes, but these need to be separated from the experience of reading the poem.

For those who have the patience for a second reading, that could be done while ignoring the notes at the end.  Alternatively, one might skip the notes at the first reading, or simply never read them—as I am sure many might do, even without my prompting.

I am finding it difficult to break free of this habit of adding images, captions and notes.

Meanwhile, if this extra clutter (added to the clutter of the verses and that of my e-mails in your inbox) perturbs you, I am sorry.

All of that being said, notes 1 and 2 should be read by those wanting a better view of the images, while notes 3 and 4 should be read by those interested in basic astronomy—who might also wish to correct any errors I might have made in note 3.

-- Arjun

The Gibbous Moon

Waxing gibbous moon with clouds.  A.K. Entingh http://photo.accuweather.com/photogallery/details/photo/134438/

I saw, tonight, the clouds on high
were drifting past the moon,
whose light they shaded with their streams
of hazy white and dark.

But as I looked, the sky grew clear.
The moon now floated free.
And I stood there, transfixed by light
reflected down to me.

I figured, from the gibbous shape
that pointed to the west,
where it might lie—that sun that lit
this moon that lovers seek.

How sweet that light, reflected in
the eyes of one you love.
How lonely then that moon appears,
when those you love are gone.

Moon and storm clouds, Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn, 2016-08-15.  © A. Janah

We're born to live awhile and die,
as others have before.
The moon sails in and out of clouds
and sees us come and go.
How long this moon has circled Earth—
how many eons through—
we do not know.  But it has seen
more things than I and you.

And some might say, "It cannot see."
And they may well be right.
No witness to our follies then—
as wolves look up and howl.

I saw tonight a gibbous moon
that still will wax a while.
And when that moon is full I'll look
at it with shining eyes.

Full moon above clouds and hills.  author unknown

2016 August 16th, Tue
Brooklyn, New York


Bensonhurst Park after midnight, 2016-08-15.  © A. Janah

Bensonhurst Park after midnight, 2016-08-15—wide view.  © A. Janah
The path on the right leads towards the Bay Parkway and Belt Parkway exit.

Gables, windows, clouds and moon. 19th Ave, Bensonhurst, 2016-08-15.   © A. Janah

1. To see the images in this post in a somewhat larger and clearer format, single-click on any one image.  Then use your keyboard's right and left arrow keys, or click on the thumbnails, to see each image in turn. To return to this post, click on the large white X near the top right of the dark background.  Pressing the escape (esc) key might also return you to this post.
2.  For an even better view of the images, go also to full-screen view. In most web-browsers on a PC, the F11 key can be used to toggle in and out of full-screen view.

The photographs taken by me are not the best. I am still struggling with the smartphone, including even with 'phone calls.

But I have included a black and white photograph (the third image: 
Full moon above clouds and hills) that is beautiful. I could not trace the photographer.

There is also a nice color photograph of the moon, with clouds in the foreground. This is the first image, which is repeated, with the second occurrence captioned: Waxing gibbous moon with clouds. 

This shows the moon in one if its two gibbous phases.  I found it, posted by A.T. Entingh, at a site on accuweather.com.  A.T. Entingh has a photography site (which I found once, but then could not find again), which says she is interested in weather photography. So the photograph was probably taken by her—although this image was not on that site.
3. The term "gibbous", as applied to the moon, refers to the shape of its lit surface, as observed by us, when more than half of the circle is lit, but not the full circle. The common names for the phases of the moon are "new" (completely dark and so invisible), "crescent", "quarter" (half the circle lit), "gibbous" and "full".

If, for a crescent, quarter or gibbous moon, the western side of the moon is lit, then the moon is waxing: the lit area will be growing larger each night, until full moon.  If the eastern side of the moon is lit, then it is waning: the lit area will be growing smaller each night, until it disappears at new moon.

That, at least, is how I figure it, noting that the moon revolves "monthly" around the Earth, in the same direction as the Earth rotates daily about its north-south axis—from west to east.

Do correct me if I am wrong.

The moon's orbital plane is tilted with respect to the Earth's equatorial plane. The angle of this tilt varies cyclically, over the years, from about 18 degrees to about 29 degrees. 

If you live north of the 30th parallel of latitude, then you should be able to see the moon (between moon-rise and moon-set) when facing south. The western side of the moon will then be on your right.

4. The first image is repeated in two sizes. That will only be apparent on viewing the images as explained in notes 1 and 2 above.

The photograph for the second image (Moon and storm clouds, Bensonhurst Park) was taken, shortly after midnight, at the start of Monday, 15th August. 

The moon's phase was then waxing gibbous. But the bright flare in the photograph hid the gibbous shape.  The three lights in a horizontal line in the clouds were not from 'planes or UFO's.  They are artifacts of the cellphone's camera.

The final image (Gables, windows, clouds and moon) was taken the next night, around 10 pm on Monday, 15th August. 


The phase of the moon was then still waxing gibbous—with the full moon being due on Thursday, 18th August. At the time of the photograph, only a bit of the moon was not obscured by dark clouds. Again, in the photograph, the light flare around that bright bit rounded out its shape..
5. Chronological details:
-a) composed stanzas 1 to 4 and 6:
2016 August 15th, Mon, late at night, while walking, with the moon as companion, from the crossing at 19th & Cropsey Avenues to Bensonhurst Park (near Bay Parkway and Cropsey Avenue) and then around the circular path there
-b) wrote those stanzas:
sitting on a bench in the park
-c) added stanzas 5, 7 and 8:
August 16th, Tue, at our apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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