Friday, June 5, 2009

Blue Moon, Look In Their Eyes

Here comes the shaman again. But first:

The blue moon is a real moon, and has to do with the disparity between the moon's cycle and the yearly cycle. The moon cycle is shorter than the monthly cycle by about eleven days a year. Thus every 2.7 (more or less) years there is an extra moon that occurs at some point in the year, 12 moons in a normal year, and in the third year, then thirteen moons. That thirteenth moon is the traditional blue moon, timed seasonally rather than monthly. Thus each season has three moons but then if there is the fourth moon in one season, that's what creates a blue moon. In modern times the Farmer's Almanac defines the third moon as the blue moon in a season, because the other moons have these names, the early (season) moon, the mid (season) moon, the late (season) moon. They put the blue moon third so the last moon remains the late moon.

In earlier times there were twelve named moons and so the term blue moon was used as a reset device that allowed the following moon to claim the next of the twelve names. Otherwise the moon in question would shine too early by most of a month.

There is an alternative description of the blue moon that started in 1946 and is now considered an error, discovered in 1999. This description calls the blue moon the second full moon in a single month. This also works to put the blue moon in the last days of a month and the regular moon in the earliest days of the same month. This would never happen in February except possibly in a leap year. That would be the bluest of blue moons.

You can wiki the rest of the discussion. I wrote this to anchor it. I knew there was a blue moon and until this post thought it was the monthly definition. But my excuse is that I learned it sometime in the seventies or even earlier, though certainly not before 1960. What is amusing is that the Farmer's Almanac never backed away from the traditional version. That consistent stand didn't matter, a fine example of misconceptions surviving by force of popularity.

Also the Christian Church times Easter bearing in mind the blue moon, a seasonal concern as well. So farmers and some Christian clerics knew better in those fifty two plus years. I presume the advantage of the twice monthly description is that it makes knowing what full moon is the blue moon much easier.

Blue Moon

Wait while I build fire
Beneath this fullest of old moons,
Wait until then, love.
Wait for me.
We will
Both dance in the tide of life,
Dance in the ghost light,
Dance the blue tuning
Truth of the moment given
By this old blue moon.

January 11, 2009 9:57 AM


Sometimes we do push our own agenda. This poem describes one. I have been watching at my feeder and can testify that things are not friendly there that often. Most birds seem to act as if they are thieves and often the ranking behavior is very clear. Certain birds that are picked on. Thus some of the birds who come by and act like thieves may be those nervous birds. The rest possibly fear human civilization and its cats. I believe, however that there are certain house finches who eat at my feeder without fear. There are three of them, or were. They were raised in a nest five feet from the feeder. It has always been there for them.

Look In Their Eyes

It's not about them.
The birds are efficiently
Cruel to themselves,
Fearful of us when
We come closer than they like.
It's us we love then.
We love what we dream
Of how their lives go because
Nothing beautiful
As birds could be so
Cruel and fearful as they are,
But look in their eyes.

January 11, 2009 1:27 PM


  1. Wow....we must have been riding a similar wave of thought today (or somewhen) my bumbly old American friend.

    Beautiful blue moon :)


  2. Love the discussion on the Blue Moon. Gonna have to look up the Christian aspect. I gave a speech on Easter once, and the pagan way it came about, including the date, which technically is determined as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, and Passover is also determined by the relation of the moon to the equinox. So I'm very curious to see what is there on Wiki.

    It is funny, the different birds and their ease. Titmice being some of your thieving birds I think, whereas all the finches and nuthatches do seem to feel entitled and calm. My cat watches from the window, not being allowed to eat birds. However, I do let him chase the squirrel occasionally, who KNOWS he is a thief.

    Love your poems.

  3. (after wiki) veddy interestink

  4. Christopher, these two are some of my favorite poems of yours.

    The first has a tenderness and yet a feeling of the timelessness of ancient practices.

    The second, because I am enamoured of birds and their behavior. Right now, I can see goldfinches, a red-headed woodpecker, robins, and cardinals at my feeders. Even the woodpecker has gotten lazy and feeds on the suet. They are peacefully coexisting with a squirrel who is trying to nose his way in. Just wait until Mr. Mockingbird comes back. He rules this roost! In one of my hanging flower baskets, there are three baby birds. There were five eggs. Yesterday, I discovered a nest in the garage with eggs in it as well. I am so happy to live surrounded by green mountains and so many of God's little creations.

  5. Michelle, I am not surprised that we ride similar waves somewhen. I enjoy the company.

    Catvibe, I am glad I found something interseting.

    The birds get busy this time of year. I too get a mix of species, but it is narrowed by only using sunflower seeds in my feeder, mainly the finches. And if you aren't a small bird you can't get in under the eave there. I have a squirrel from time to time interested but the only way out if they do get there is to take a long drop to the ground.

    I just decided a while back that I was not really looking at cooperation when I saw groups at my feeder. I don't think they like each other. I think we read into them stories of behavior, make them more human, or try to.

    Every time I see a group of birds there my heart leaps. I want them all to be friends. But that wish doesn't survive my extended observation. This is more like a watering hole on the savannah in Africa. It only means that food trumps their normal distancing.

  6. soooo beautiful!!!

  7. Hope your visit with your sister is going well. Thanks for the hug.

  8. I really enjoyed this one. I didn't know that about the blue moon (always thought it was the 2-in-1-month thing), and I value this sort of (arcane) knowledge. The real blue moon, that sounds like a fine one to build a fire beneath, to wait beneath. To make magic beneath.

  9. Waiting For The Blue Moon

    I waited for you
    to come to me at the blue
    moon, planning, dreaming,
    hoping for true love
    once in a blue moon with you,
    with the blue presence
    of your eyes, your eyes,
    and your truest words of grace
    and your feather touch.

  10. Thank you, Ghost. Are you well? I trust that you are...

  11. oh of course.... just here and there doing this and that.... you know.... unfinished business and all....

  12. Cold feet

    I knew you were waiting,
    waiting for me there
    by the fire,
    soft-sharp-crackle heat
    in the dewy night,
    and the fear of that touched me cold.

    The blue of this night
    I have craved so long;
    the deep-blue
    moon-blue of the ocean's sky,
    the sky of of infinite falling,
    of sleep's deepest desires

    but now, here we are,
    you waiting there by your
    twig-fire, bright leaf-fire
    as I shiver, only wanting
    to go home, the blue
    of this moon suddenly
    too much for me.

  13. {{{Rachel}}}

    Truly Ripe

    Of course, go home, love.
    Another fire night will come
    in time, a long time
    perhaps and yet songs
    will still be sung to the moon
    by someone truly
    ready, truly ripe,
    and you if not yet ready,
    are still on the path.

  14. Beautiful poem! I also love Rachel's. The moon controls the tide, so I am also in its spell. It's supposedly centrifugal force that makes those tides, but I prefer to think of it as magic:)

  15. As the sun nudges
    the low horizon to the music
    of the early dawn

    and I slide my cool-slick,
    dew-footed presence
    alongside your sleep-warmed
    self in the sleeping bag

    thank you for not asking
    me to explain where I've been
    all this time.

  16. Julie, of course it's magic.

    Rachel, Holy sh*t! I wouldn't dare ask. :)


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