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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

94. One Night the Moon: a poem, a reflection

Over the last couple of days my year 11 class has been watching the Australian film, One Night the Moon. It is a story of a little girl lost in the Australian bush; the girl had wandered from her parents' homestead at night. Weeks later, she was found dead. It stirred within me, this film, stirred feelings to do with my own personal history - and this poem emerged.

She wandered from her mother’s breast
The moon had beckoned her to come
She heard its music on the air
Its strange light lit the wide brown land
And made of it a magic place
In which a child might roam and dream
And some time, in the dead of night
Her mother found her gone.

They took me from my mother’s breast
The nurses at The Haven had assured her:
‘This is for the best’.

And gave me to a childless pair
Who both, for such a long, sad time had dreamed of just this moment.
They took me to their humble home
And made me welcome there.


Days, weeks, months later, when all hope was dead
They found the child, her body curled
Beneath a sheltering rock ledge
Long time dead.
In years that came
Her mother felt, within her womb
Echoes and shadows, memories of a child
That once, for nine months, dwelt within.
She never more could look upon the moon.

My twenty year old mother Gwendoline
moved on.
She left the Unwed Mothers’ Home
And went back to her parents and her son.
For sixty years or more I didn’t know
That she once bore me safe within her womb.
I sometimes wonder if she felt
Echoes and shadows, memories of a child
Who once had dwelt within her
Now long gone.

And when the moon is on the rise
And when it bathes the wide brown land in its strange light
It beckons me to come – to seek
The mother who once carried me
And brought me to his moon-washed land
Where children roam and dream alone and lost

1 comment:

  1. I know she did Barry. For it would have been impossible for any mother not to feel the echoes and shadows, the memories of a child who had dwelt within her. That is a primal connection that cannot be blurred or forgotten. Thank you for this very moving and haunting poem.