I am in Scarsdale, via Metro North. The people on the train were big-toothed and content, playing with their Apple devices, their clothes dry, unlike the damp earth they were returning to, away from the humid city. The crickets buzzed as we walked across the damp lawn. Now I remember the last time I was here, blogging on this same computer, also in August, in sweet sad August with the lengthening shadows and weaker light and another season and another year coming to a close. Not yet, you say, but the moon is waxing full, past midway.
I love this poem, The Phases of the Moon by W.B. Yeats, and this is my favorite stanza:
Robartes. Twenty-and-eight the phases of the moon,
The full and the moon’s dark and all the crescents,
Twenty-and-eight, and yet but six-and-twenty
The cradles that a man must needs be rocked in:
For there’s no human life at the full or the dark.
From the first crescent to the half, the dream
But summons to adventure and the man
Is always happy like a bird or a beast;
But while the moon is rounding towards the full
He follows whatever whim’s most difficult
Among whims not impossible, and though scarred,
As with the cat-o’-nine-tails of the mind,
His body moulded from within his body
Grows comelier. Eleven pass, and then
Athene takes Achilles by the hair,
Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born,
Because the hero’s crescent is the twelfth.
And yet, twice born, twice buried, grow he must,
Before the full moon, helpless as a worm.
The thirteenth moon but sets the soul at war
In its own being, and when that war’s begun
There is no muscle in the arm; and after,
Under the frenzy of the fourteenth moon,
The soul begins to tremble into stillness,
To die into the labyrinth of itself!
Alone and best at it without corruption or scandal I am my own and I can work and love as I see fit under my own self-imposed deformity. I am perhaps in the 11th, just entering it.