Issue No. 19, Winter 2016

A Phase of the Moon
Ruth Asch

The moon was never so much a face as now,
tilted away in gaping sorrow.
Pallid and yet bright,
grey brows, mouth corner tips
arced in comic, graceful pain:
Pirouette, shadowed by the night.

Glittery, and slightly tattered –
it is only a sticker pasted on the sky:
an ardent child’s fancy,
long since faded and forgotten;
but still there, weeping. Why?

What was Moon weeping for
those many years ago,
when innocence still shone?
Why is the agony there still?

You are so old, Moon,
and your expression frightens me:
your eyes look where I cannot see.
It is a childish thing.

You are so pale, Moon.
The whole globe in your liquid look;
intense and strange your beauty’s hook:
the strong Sea sighs and follows.

The waters of the world are in your sway;
the illusion-led lunatic,
the werewolf, the women awake
feel your silent presence and obey.

Blue shadows hover at your feet;
white birds glimmer your dispatches…

I am small, my life no fantasy.
And yet somehow –
that look is meant for me.


Ruth Asch is a poet, in the rare moments she can run away and seek inspiration. She is also a mother, and sometimes a teacher. She writes in many different styles and enjoys attempting the impossible – poetry translation from other languages. There is a book of her early poems in print: Reflections (St. Austin Press 2009), and she has been published in many literary journals since. (Clusters of her work can be found online at Peacock Journal, Mediterranean Poetry, Classical Poets, Poetry Atlas, Bamboo and elsewhere.)