Shine On, Harvest Moon

Last night we experienced a full harvest moon and the moon should look spectacular again tonight. A harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which means it looks particularly vivid. Here is a fine Ted Hughes poem about the spell that harvest moons  cast upon us:

The Harvest Moon

By Ted Hughes

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can’t sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!’ and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

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This entry was posted in Larkin (Philip) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • Brendan

    I realize I’m a couple of years late on this one, but Larkin did not write that poem; Ted Hughes did. It also should have stanza breaks.

  • Robin Bates

    How embarrassing, Brendan! Thanks for catching it. I’m guilty of perpetuating the unreliability of the internet. I’ve corrected it.


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