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A Match With The Moon

March 13, 2017

Weary already, weary miles to-night
I walked for bed: and so, to get some ease,
I dogged the flying moon with similes.
And like a wisp she doubled on my sight
In ponds; and caught in tree-tops like a kite;
And in a globe of film all liquorish
Swam full-faced like a silly silver fish;—
Last like a bubble shot the welkin’s height
Where my road turned, and got behind me, and sent
My wizened shadow craning round at me,
And jeered, ‘So, step the measure,—one two three!’—
And if I faced on her, looked innocent.
But just at parting, halfway down a dell,
She kissed me for good-night. So you’ll not tell.

–Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1860

COMMENTARY: The moon is full tonight (or almost)–you can see both rabbit ears clearly–so I thought I’d post this playful Rossetti sonnet in which the moon is “dogged” with six successive similes (wisp, kite, liquorish globe, fish, and bubble). Making a simile is a kind of kissing and telling–kissing, in the sense of deriving contact and pleasure; telling, in the sense of speaking and discerning. But why not tell? You won’t know what I’m talking about? You want understand the nature of this fanciful, imaginative frolic? I’m not sure.

There is also a playful pun in “match”–both the the doubling of the moon in similes and also (implicitly) the woman that the speaker is thinking about and ogling the moon to “get some ease” from.

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From → Funny Poems, Nature

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