Last night was another full moon. At this time of the year, it is referred to most often as the Hunter’s Moon, and sometimes as the Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. The reference dates to agrarian times when, after the harvest and with the fallen leaves, the moonlight provides ample illumination for hunting at night, gathering meat which will be stored for the upcoming winter months.
Following is a musical composition for piano by Claude Debussy, titled Clair de Lune (French for moonlight), composed in 1890 and inspired by the poem bearing the same name written by Paul Verlaine in 1869.
Clair de Lune – Paul Verlaine
In its original French:
Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,
Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.
English Translation: (per Wikipedia)
Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masqueraders and bergamaskers go
Playing the lute and dancing and almost
Sad beneath their fanciful disguises.
All sing in a minor key
Of victorious love and the opportune life,
They do not seem to believe in their happiness
And their song mingles with the moonlight,
With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful,
That sets the birds dreaming in the trees
And the fountains sobbing in ecstasy,
The tall slender fountains among marble statues
Much has been written about the moon, in prose, poetry, and song. It has long been the subject of art and photography as well. Its primal beauty has inspired many throughout the ages. As I don’t consider myself much of a writer, poet, musical prodigy, or artist, I have chosen tonight to give tribute to the wonderful harvest moon using the works of others. And, more importantly, I get to act like an opera geek in the process.
When I look at the moon, I am often reminded of a beautiful aria from the Opera Rusalka, composed by Antonín Dvořák. Think of it as an ancient version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In this aria Rusalka, a mermaid of the lake, has fallen in love with a Prince who swims in the lake, and here she sings her “Song to the Moon” asking it to tell the Prince of her love for him. I’ve linked the Aria and the lyric below, along with the translation into English; much better material than I could ever write.
The native language is Czech. Following below is the original lyric along with the rough English translation:
O Mesiku (Song to the Moon)
Mesiku na nebi hlubokem
Svetlo tvé daleko vidi,
Po svete bloudis sirokém,
Divas se v pribytky lidi.
Mesicku, postuj chvili
reckni mi, kde je muj mily!
Rekni mu, stribmy mesicku,
me ze jej objima rame,
aby si alespon chvilicku
vzpomenul ve sneni na mne.
Zasvet mu do daleka,
rekni mu, rekni m kdo tu nan ceka!
O mneli duse lidska sni,
at’se tou vzpominkou vzbudi!
Mesicku, nezhasni, nezhasni!
O moon high up in the deep, deep sky,
Your light sees far away regions,
You travel round the wide,
Wide world peering into human dwellings.
O, moon, stand still for a moment,
Tell me, ah, tell me where is my lover!
Tell him please, silvery moon in the sky,
That I am hugging him firmly,
That he should for at least a while
Remember his dreams!
Light up his far away place,
Tell him, ah, tell him who is here waiting!
If he is dreaming about me,
May this remembrance waken him!
O moon, don’t disappear, don’t disappear!
If you made it this far and have not died of boredom or fallen fast asleep, I thank you for your attention. So get out of the house and gaze up at that gorgeous full harvest moon! Good night all…