Thursday, 27 May 2010

MAY: Corn-planting Moon

Far be it for me to make any kind of party-political comment on this blog – reserved purely for poetry, pictures and polemic – except to say that, yes, my last entry on all things green coincided with a General Election. Potentially this is the best night’s TV-watching (bar the Eurovision Song Contest… no, actually, scrap that: without Wogan, it is like, well, Election Night without Peter Snow!)

I spent the long night with some friends who, far from lasting until the Portillo Moment (or the Opik Defeat) flaked out long before the Green Dawn (I mean, when the hippies broke into the Pavilion, not when the Yuppies had a picnic in the Park.) For every silver lining…

This month’s full-moon poem may be more, or less, political – depending on your point of view. It sort of answers the question I get asked about vegetarianism: why I eschew something that has been created purely for my pleasure without any recourse to that creature’s or person’s dignity or humanity. Far be it from me: let poetry legislate.

Moon Phases, May 2010

Last Quarter – May 6, 04:15
New Moon – May 14, 01:04
First Quarter – May 20, 23:43
Full Moon – May 27, 23:07

MAY: Corn-planting Moon (Taos)


The moon in Maytime teases dew
for the dawn's ablutions;
Seduces the sap, entices the juices,
lifts us to action.
In the fallacy of sacrilegious beautification,
Here is no time for the planting of Corn.

In a mud hut somewhere, a Hopi girl
sits grinding last year's harvest,
awaiting the onslaught of blood and ties,
Permitted only to beat the irritant dust-mites
away with her grinding stick,
Enduring the weaving and winding of a
relative matriarch, who plaits her hair into maturity's design.

Symbol of obedience to society,
to servitude and subjugation:
to masculine superiority;
she neither weeps nor complains
though her hands are raw and blistered,
her tender skin itches, and her puerile womb
acknowledges the moment of the moon:
la moment de la lune spills out sans puer.

The initiation complete, she
emerges from her childhood tent knowing her place,
with the shroud of adulthood woven round her face.
This might seem like lore or legend,
stuff of ancient so-called civilizations,
but it goes on still today.

In another hut, an apology for straw bedding,
Young females are incarcerated and lashed
with strobe effects until ready to produce their eggs.
And sometimes they are fed with grain and corn
to assuage some guilt - or rather, demonstrate cowardice:
no wonder the chicken has come to represent
fear; cowardly-custard, corn-fed, yellow-faced fear.
Other animals too are tamed and trained to produce.
In yet another tent, billed as the biggest and best:
Cornplanter, performing horse, praying for Pegasus' wings;
Gargantuan, though hardly a King like his cousin, Kong;
Dumbo (who had the sense to fly - at least to cartoon-land)
Goliath, beached sea elephant, hadn't the giant's strength
or native habitat to escape; rather, a captive in chains.
And Jumbo, conversely, travelled the sea to join Barnum's
Monstrous show, appeased by a barrel of beer on the way
(a costly exercise, but the audience loves a freak).
Who started this abuse of rights, it's hard to tell.
Who permitted this deep sleep to fall upon them!
It's a wonder these simple yet mightily powerful creatures
didn't wipe the smirks off the audiences face:
God knows they had the strength to, if not struck dumb
by their subordinated instinct or sedated apoplexy.
Thus God ordained and gave to man supremacy over all,
who named and subsequently maimed an entire Kingdom.
We all have our rites of passage; all people have their
Naming and initiation ceremonies -
Some afford the animals a special place in theirs.
The sacred cow, the filthy pig, the deified Ganesha:
Do not all these dwell within the temples of the mind?
Then we must award, reward, and re-award all animals
Their regal right among our chosen race.