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Women Poets and the Moon

I enjoy researching poetry and sharing my findings with readers.

Poetry About the Moon

Poets tend to write about similar topics. This article analyzes four poems by four different female poets to see how they talk about one subject: the moon. Even though the poems are written in different time zones and by different people, they tend to have certain similarities (and also differences!). Read on for my full analysis.

Just like in art, poetry has represented the moon in a variety of ways

Just like in art, poetry has represented the moon in a variety of ways

"The Mother Moon" by Louisa May Alcott

"The moon upon the wide sea
Placidly looks down,
Smiling with her mild face,
Though the ocean frown.
Clouds may dim her brightness,
But soon they pass away,
And she shines out, unaltered,
O'er the little waves at play.
So 'mid the storm or sunshine,
Wherever she may go,
Led on by her hidden power
The wild sea must plow.

As the tranquil evening moon
Looks on that restless sea,
So a mother's gentle face,
Little child, is watching thee.
Then banish every tempest,
Chase all your clouds away,
That smoothly and brightly
Your quiet heart may play.
Let cheerful looks and actions
Like shining ripples flow,
Following the mother's voice,
Singing as they go."

-Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

"The Moon and the Yew Tree" by Sylvia Plath

"This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky —
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness –
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars
Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness – blackness and silence."

-Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Differences Between the Two Poems

The two poems, both about the moon representing a mother figure, were written by two different people in two different time zones. Louisa May Alcott lived from 1832 to 1888. Her father served in the Civil War fighting for the North and her family had much financial hardship. Although she is mostly known for her novel Little Women that was based loosely on her childhood, she did publish several poems. In her poem, she describes the Moon as being like a gentle mother's face. The moon is described as being a motherly guardian or protector. Sylvia Plath lived from 1932 to 1963. Although she also describes the moon as a motherly figure, the moon she describes is not loving or protective like the one in Alcott's poem. The moon is described as being distressed as it drags "the sea after is like a dark crime". The moon is also described as being quiet or suffering in silence which is much of what Sylvia Plath did as she was clinically depressed.

"The Moon Was But a Chin Of Gold" by Emily Dickinson

"The Moon was but a Chin of Gold
A Night or two ago
And now she turns Her perfect Face
Upon the World below

Her Forehead is of Amplest Blonde
Her Cheek—a Beryl hewn
Her Eye unto the Summer Dew
The likest I have known

Her Lips of Amber never part
But what must be the smile
Upon Her Friend she could confer
Were such Her Silver Will

And what a privilege to be
But the remotest Star
For Certainty She take Her Way
Beside Your Palace Door

Her Bonnet is the Firmament
The Universe—Her Shoe
The Stars—the Trinkets at Her Belt
Her Dimities—of Blue"

-Emily Dickinson

"Bella Luna" by Megan Fricke

"The full moon glowed deeply in the night sky.

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The purple Iris were in bloom with insects that fly.

The stars were shining bright for everyone to see.

In all of the quietness and darkness there was serenity.

The fog parted as the moon lit the way.

The cemetery was were the dead lay.

Two lovers kissed underneath the shining moon.

The night air was warm and welcoming setting its tune.

The dragonflies flew through the sky

As hatched from their cocoons butterflies.

A shooting star raced across the blue night.

The lightning bugs glowed as they took flight.

The cats purred after they hunted in the dark.

The moon with its beauty gave the night it's spark."

-Megan Fricke

Comparing the Poems

The two poems, one by Emily Dickinson and one by Megan Fricke, are alike in the sense that they are both revealing a love for the moon. Emily Dickinson, who lived from 1830 to 1886, describes the moon as either a woman or Goddess. Megan Fricke mostly describes the moon as giving the night beauty and "its spark". Little is known about the life of Emily Dickinson. She was reclusive and appeared to wear white all the time. Megan Fricke is a modern poet. All four poems discussed were written by female poets about the moon being some type of feminine presence. In conclusion, even though they lived in different time zones and places, the theme in the poems about a love of the moon is still the same.


Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 18, 2017:

Thoroughly enjoyed this collection of moon poetry. There is something so magical about the moon. Thanks for sharing these wonderful works with us.

Ezria Copper (author) on April 16, 2017:

I am glad you liked the blog. It was just a similarity that I was noticing in female poets. I thought it would be a good topic to write about.

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on April 15, 2017:

Thank you for such an enjoyable experience. Excellent choice of poets to contrast with incredible poetry held together by different shades of the moon. Jamie

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on April 15, 2017:

Ezra, this is a wonderful collection of poems describing the moon. Thank you for sharing and your comparisons. I preferred "The Moon Was But a Chin of Gold" and "The Mother Moon" but they are all very good.

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