I've never thought about the moon so much,
considered it sister-like, watching us learn
how to be together. You in my arms, perfect
circle of your small mouth pressed to my breast.
Lunar light from my phone, my own brain, the moon
all shining. It's scary how big the night is, how small
we are in it. Think of the others up with us,
a night-nation of milk and mouths, all fumbling
towards each other in the dark, singing.
The shape of you a crescent against me. Little planet
exploring your phases. Oh, moon be good to her
in the ebb-and-flow of monthly life. Lick the path clean.
But for now sweet Nightbaby, rock with me.
From Morning, Noon and Night on RTÉ lyric fm, by kind permission of the author.
You can also download this Pocket Poem here.
A word from Catherine Ann Cullen, Poet in Residence at Poetry Ireland:
The moon is the main image in this lullaby from a breastfeeding mother to her daughter. The poem evokes a feminine world, the moon is a “sister”, new mothers and babies are a “night-nation of milk and mouths.” The daughter is described in lunar terms: the “perfect circle” of her mouth suggests a full moon, her shape is “like a crescent”, she explores her “phases”. The mother asks the moon’s blessing on her child in the “ebb-and-flow of monthly life”, conjuring tides as well as the menstrual cycle. The poem concludes “rock with me”, evoking both a dance and a rocking to sleep.