Wider than a mile
Hello Moonlight Drinkers!
This week I’m sharing previously publish poetry comics around a theme and looking at how these poems and comics came to be. Yesterday, the theme was the ocean.
Now, let’s talk about the moon.
all of our children
wonder at the same set of stars
gaze at the same moon
This was one of my earlier comics. I was just figuring out how I wanted these to look. I write the poem after seeing a series of news stories about an increase in virulent hate crimes targeting Asians in the United States in the wake of COVID.
The theme of us all sharing the same night sky is of course not novel to me, but it’s an image I find comforting. When I was living in Taiwan as a young adult, and everyone else I knew was an ocean away, I found this idea that my loved ones looked up at the same moon at night as I did, was a way to bridge the distance between us.
You can get this comic on a t-shirt in my shop.
Moon and Mars eavesdrop
on gossiping great horned owls
deep in the dark woods
Whenever I share this comic on social media I get a lot of comments and messages about how much people love owls and their own owl stories. I have quite a few other owl poems that I’ve written, and someday I will turn some more of them into comics.
This comic was my first attempt at using “dialogue” in a comic. It’s also the first time I put words other than the ones in the poem into the comic. I have a goofy sense of humor, and the idea of a conversation between the owls cracked me up, so I put it in the comic.
You’ll notice that I use a lot of different color shades for the moon in different comics. I like the idea that the moon is unknowable and lacks a fixed appearance.
the moonrise signaled
we had killed another day
This comic came about because I had an idea for how to show light reflecting in the water and I wanted to test it out. I chose this haiku for the comic because I like the contrast between moonrise to the more traditional tropes of sunset and sunrise.
I try to ask myself at the end of every day if I spent that sliver of my life in a worthy way. This question is less about productivity for me and more about the quality of the activities I engage in.
find a lonely place
bring a book, plant a garden
I have a thing for seeing the moon as the perfect place to build a reading garden. Can you tell that I’m an introvert?
we discarded time
spent eternity in our
secret moon garden
I’m also fascinated with the ways we can live outside of time. The most powerful part of mindfulness to me is the ability it grants to dilate time. You don’t have to feel rushed or that your experiences are compressed if you choose to live in the moment.
translucent clouds race
past moon and star of Venus
high atmosphere winds
Sometimes I find myself up against a deadline and need to create a poetry comic quickly, while still creating a sense of wonder and beauty. This comic came out of my conscious effort to keep things simple so that I could finish in a timely manner and get to bed.
This comic is a good reminder to me that I have a “one more thing” tendency in my art that makes things needlessly complicated and often less really is more.
bashful moon sliver
sends Polaris to light the night
hides behind the trees
I was getting out of the car after bringing my son home from basketball practice. I saw Polaris just above the tree line, but it seemed to be giving off too much light. Then I spotted the crescent moon through the trees. This poem then popped into my head just as you read it here. I ran inside and wrote it down lest I lose it.
in evening sky
Venus, Jupiter, and Mars
This is another more recent comic. Right now there is so much happening in the night sky. This is an example of me using poetry comics as a form of journaling. My kids pointed out the heavenly happenings to me because I was busy rushing around trying to get things ready for Becky’s first surgery back at the end of January.
When my children were younger, we spent a lot of time together looking at the sky. I’m grateful that has stayed with them now that the older ones are approaching adulthood, and that they can bring me back to staring at the sky.
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Poets have been writing about the moon since we first developed language. Yet, there is still so much to say about our heavenly neighbor.
Do you have any favorite moon poems? Share them in the comments!
P.S. If you need a song to help experience calm and wonder, listen to Frank Ocean’s Moon River:
One day, the hate will stop and be replaced by love. Yes, we all gaze up at the same moon, the same stars.