From references to the moon in poems by Frank Stanford (1948–1978), who was best known for his epic poem The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You. Stanford’s selected poems, The Light the Dead See, was published in 1991 by University of Arkansas Press, and his collected poems, What About This, was published last month by Copper Canyon Press. Compiled by Elizabeth Bryant.
And the moon
Was a dead man floating down the river
was the blind eye of a fish
in the back of a cave
the moon was a salt lick
for her cattle of darkness
It is a piece of butcher’s ice
the moon full and flowing this side of Ozark
Smoldering like a burnt tick
Night and her moon
Like a widow with child
the moon like a bleeding toenail
the dancers will pass by
moon hung together with dark
like camp dogs in a ditch
The moon was swollen up
Like a mosquito’s belly.
It was a clock with twelve numbers
Was a piece of stationery
In a drawer she would not open.
The moon is your old shirt.
And the moon was his white piano
And the moon was a body.
I don’t know who put coins over her eyes.
Flinching behind the trees.
It was a white flower
Afraid to be cut down from its dark stalk.
the moon, the old cow
That chewed its way out
Of the darkness in our fields.
It was like the light blue handkerchief
She gave him to go with his dark suit
the moon wades a creek
Like an albino with a blade
Fixed to a stick.
Now the moon was a fifty-cent piece
It was a belly I wanted to cut open
the moon in the woods flashing
Like a girl running in her panties.
The moon went back into its night
Like a blue channel cat in a log.