What are these curious markings?
On Tuesday, I went down to the Drop Stone bench to photograph the setting crescent moon over Auk Point. Can you sense how the shivers on a bitter cold winter night “taught” me to move the camera like a calligrapher’s pen, thereby capturing and creating an alphabet of moon script? Can you see the crescent moon hidden in every one of the 42 calligraphic specimens of soft lunar light shown above and below?
I want to write about faith
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,
faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
slither of light before the final darkness.
These are the first two stanzas of David Whyte’s profoundly metaphoric poem ‘Faith’ where he links the moon’s crescent waning phrase with the abstract notion of faith; the sort of knowing that, even though entering into a period of darkness, after three days of invisibility the moon “will” re-appear and begin its journey towards fulness.
Using an almost Arabic like, flowing lunar script, I offer my own interpretation of David Whyte’s ‘Faith’ as a visual, visceral poem of how faith hides and can be found in the slim crescent waxing sliver of light moving towards fullness, away from the dark.
Nearly ten years ago after a week of emotional disturbance following the 9/11 catastrophe in America, I set up a tent in a secluded section of Windgrove and meditated there for three days trying to come to grips with the global and personal enormity of what had happened. This period of time coincided with a new moon. On my last evening while looking towards the setting sun, there, faintly visible, was this impossibly thin sliver of fragile light.
To be honest, I can’t recall whether or not I was already familiar with David Whyte’s poem, but seeing this “new moon, slender and barely open” did open me to faith and a certain knowledge that a fullness of light will return, not only to my life, but to all life. A peace came over me, quieted the heavier elements of despair and left just a healthy residual of “blessed unrest”.
While packing up the tent and walking the short distance to my home, I also reflected on the notion that even though the Greens political party in Tasmania only received 13% of the vote, this equated to the amount of light reflected in a crescent moon. Maybe, I thought, it wasn’t necessary for the Greens to ever become the majority ruling party. Maybe, it was enough for them to be their smaller, slender selves and stay as a beckon of light in the darkness surrounding us, constantly offering up faith and hope.
But I have no faith myself
I refuse it the smallest entry.
Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.