LUNAR POETICS

a mutable treatise


Despite radical, ongoing, global changes in human culture, poets continually advocate inclusivity, imagination, and resilience. They do so by working in, adapting to, and evolving with the ever-shifting modalities of linguistic expression. Language is the fabric of society; poets work at the threshold of the weave.

As a publication, The Lune is rooted in the belief that a contemplative, inventive approach to language — the poet's approach — makes our time on this planet more valuable.* It is difficult to justify this belief or otherwise explain how time is made valuable; it is a feeling — aliveness — something rooted deep in the body and the mind. Maybe this is where the notion of the human spirit comes from. Like a voice, impossible to place yet impossible to deny.

Today, given prodigious technological advancements, it would seem that individuals have an increased capacity to effect changes in public perception. But somehow the changes we make often fail to take root in us. Poetry is a bare-bones art and recalls meaning as an embodiment of experience. Poets source language in experience (and vice versa); in so doing they give us back to ourselves, back to this planet. We live here after all.

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.
— Thomas Merton

Merton's beautiful, ominous thought has appeared on the final page of every print issue of The Lune. It is our true north, a reminder of the humanizing power of introspection. Identity, memory, mythos, dream, imagination — all are resources as real as those we externally amass, alter, and assign. But what makes the Moon such a powerful symbol of the necessity Merton communicates?

The phases of the Moon — from crescent to gibbous — appear to us according to the changing positions of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth; each phase is a portion of the Moon illuminated by the Sun, the Earth more or less in or out of the way (producing a new or full moon, respectively). Simply witnessing this interaction — from where we stand with what we have — we can divine essential truths about time, space, and our relative position in the cosmos.

In this sense, the crescent — or lune — is an emblem of cosmic grace, showing us how "to arrive where we started."


*"Obviously the earth was a place of trial, hardship and preparation. [The children who were to become poets] wrote of this knowledge. Knowledge, not belief. Belief came later, when knowledge began to learn its limitation. Belief is an act of spiritual will, born of the possibility of disbelief..." — Michael Schmidt, "Where It Begins," Lives of the Poets (1998)