Chasing the Moon Down

Carson Cooman used the four poems of “Chasing the Moon Down” as text for music for medium low voice, trumpet and piano. Fabrik Musical Publications is the publisher of the score. A cd, “Rising at Dawn,” includes this piece and was released in 2013.”

I. Winter

The dog’s been underfoot all day,
you say
You two need a walk

Banished, the dog and I
hike toward the river
away from the wind
away from that chilling phone call
No one else is out

Above us, the waterfalls are ice
One wave froze in its tumble
over the edge
patiently it waits for a gentler season
unlike my friend who
slipped a rope over
her head and stepped
off a stool

The sun sets with winter abruptness
We turn toward home
A flock of black birds
with much ado and chatter
settles in for the night
The dog hurries, eager
to be underfoot again

My eyes sting with tears.
Is it the sharp wind,
or the glimpse of you
in the kitchen?
Across the frozen field between us
yellow light spills
like buttercups.

II. Spring

This is the time of year
to chase the moon down
beneath dogwood blossoms
terraced white in the moonlight

This is the time of year
to howl
wild at the moon
hurl yourself toward another,
crazy for just this night

That was before

Now the dog and I limp upstairs
find you naked by the window
I kiss the scar on your back

Shaped like a water bug, it
quivers across a moonlit lake

III. Summer

All night the dog kept us awake
as he barked
inconsolable, comfortless
at the thunder, the violent summer storm

Early this morning we survey the damaged garden —
toppled tomato plants, bruised basil
an old nest flung on top of the hosta

The dog and I emerge from the beds
dappled with damp blossoms
I brush them away

like I want to erase your ragged scar
that fresh ropy line severing your life in two

Perhaps tonight we’ll dream
the dog’s paws twitching
We’ll chase after you
grab you from the edge

Or perhaps we will not be able to sleep
for the sound of thunder, flash of lightning

IV. Fall

Overnight maples turn into pumpkins
and the dog disappears for hours in his leaf-filled yard
herds squirrels corner to corner
No acorn will be harvested on his watch

Too tired for his nighttime walk
he puts himself to bed at eight

Tonight as the sun sets
wasps race to their nest
angry that their time is almost over
Seven deer tiptoe single file
from their feeding ground to their sleeping ground

A full moon
shines silver on the batwing begonias

And then it happens
You are there
The dog, overjoyed
brings his ball, his stick
anything to keep you

It’s like that other sunset
when the tops of the oaks glowed yellow
For a long time
you had been too ill to look out the window
Suddenly you saw them
and asked
How can I bear such beauty?

© Katherine Gekker 2010

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2 Responses to Chasing the Moon Down

  1. Sarah Nelson says:

    When I started to read this poem today I knew I had read it before. However, as I read along I was admiring the way you had been reworking it to be the same yet even more beautiful, so tender yet so fresh, so recognizable and familiar but new. It is like a love relationship to me. Does this make sense to you?


  2. slpmartin says:

    Your words are like brush strokes…painting the scences around you and they captures a quiet joy and harsh sadness…thanks for sharing your poem.


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