Laurie Klein Reads Lunula
Editor’s Note: “Poems to Listen By” is an audio series where over time we will explore some of the themes in the Poet Laura checklist, as well as Tweetspeak’s “Generosity” theme throughout 2021.
Speaking of generosity, in December we love to make some of our patron-only content public as a gift to the world! Please enjoy this edition as a gift from Tweetspeak Poetry.
Poems to Listen By: Moonstruck 06—Lunula
Presented by Laurie Klein
Welcome! This is “Poems to Listen By.” I’m Laurie Klein. Thank you for joining me today for our new series: “Moonstruck.”
The moon has retreated from earth nearly eight feet since my mother brought me into this world. She and I used to star-gaze from the makeshift window seat she created in my bedroom. Moonlight sketched a trembling path across the small lake just beyond our yard, and Mom would recite a poem or sing a lullaby.
My mother made comfort real. Mystical. Luminescent.
Poet Ross Gay remembers the feel of his mother’s hand cooling his brow when he had a fever. He compared her presence to moonlight spilling across “the laced hands of a nest.”
Can you picture your mother’s thumbnail, or the nail of someone else who comforted you during childhood?
Poet Susan Cowger, currently battling a version of the disease that ravaged her mama, writes about the half-moon at the base of her mother’s thumbnail.
I have my mother’s thumb
spare flesh binding a stout knuckle the nail
square with a distinct ridge
running the left side O half-moon o’ self
you wax and wane like she did managing
need delirium the lusty cry of earth’s lullaby
Yes we suffer life long and hard to finish
she in me neatly embedded
to the end like a hymn that holds on
Let’s salute mothers and moonlight, healing and wonder, with this paraphrased line by novelist Laura Morelli:
Friends, may the air that surrounds you be luminous, “cool as moonlight making its path across a secret lagoon beneath your window.”
You’ve just heard “Lunula,” by Susan Cowger. I’m Laurie Klein. Thanks for listening.
Photo by Vanessa Porter, Creative Commons license via Flickr. “Lunula,” by Susan Cowger. Used by permission. “C’mon!” from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay. The Painter’s Apprentice, Laura Morelli. Audio and script by Laurie Klein with thanks to Pat Stien for direction. “Simple Gifts” (public domain). Musical performance, recording, and mastering, by Bill Klein.
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée 04—A Plausible Story - March 29, 2023
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée 03—Magpie, Have You Seen My Sister? - February 15, 2023
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée 02—Into the Woods - December 21, 2022
Bethany R. says
Oh man. I’m all teary visualizing my mom’s thumbnail and hearing you recite Susan Cowger’s lines,
“she in me neatly embedded
to the end like a hymn that holds on”
Thank you for this stirring, beautiful production. Peace to you this holiday season, Laurie~
Laurie Klein says
Oh, what a tribute to the aching tenderness of the specific. I will let Susan know how her lines moved you.
I am wishing you (and all you love) joy and peace as well, my friend.
Thank you for not only listening but responding with such an exquisite comment. Smiling in gratitude after a very long day.
Bethany Rohde says
Thank you, Laurie. It’s such a beautiful poem, please do pass on my comments to Susan Cowger!
Hopefully, some simple delight brings restoration after such a long day. Even if it is just, “Lying on the couch and being happy,” as William Stafford says in his delightful poem, “Any Morning.”
Warm wishes to you and the Tweetspeak Community—
Laurie Klein says
Bethany, thank you. I’ll let her know.
Love that line from Stafford! Now to go and live it . . . : > )