Saturday, August 09, 2014

"The lantern is the moon"

The Alanson Riverfest (first full weekend in August) seems to be losing its energy.  Rather poor showing in the antiques and flea market! But these beauties were lying on a table and I wish I had spent more time with them, and taken their portraits from a better angle! They deserve it,since they have survived so long in suvh a clean and snappy condition. I almost bought a Royal Portable typewriter to play with, but didn't want to carry it or store it and so desisted.

There were no boat races or river parades this year. But the beer tent with the entertainment just seems to swell and puff up. I am tired and crabby today, which probably affects my attitude. I did find a sweet small dark brown pitcher for my lineup of adorable and unnecessary pitchers..

Now, as I write, there is a beautiful moon out the window. A large moon, nearly full, its yellowy color seeming to fade slightly as it moves higher in the sky.

The quatrain below was in a book of nursery rhymes that I had as a child, but I had forgotten the last two lines. Using Internet Magic, I summoned them up:

The man in the moon came down too soon,
and asked his way to Norwich;
He went by the south, and burnt his mouth
with eating cold plum porridge.

And with them, in Wikisource, on a page called Curious Myths of the Middle Ages; the Man in the Moon,  I found these lines from A Midsummer Night's Dream. In the play within a play, Quince the carpenter, giving directions for the performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe,” orders: “One must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern, and say he comes in to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine.” And the enacter of this part says, “All I have to say is, to tell you that the lantern is the moon; I the man in the moon; this thorn-bush my thorn-bush; and this dog my dog.”

This is a great page. We are so filled with Iraq and Ebola and forest fires and shootings, that we tend to forget how recently, really, the people of the Middle Ages thought up reasons for what they could observe. Reading and thinking about this world-view snaps some things into an interesting focus.

I haven't realized what a resource WIKISOURCE was! I'll be back!

And, finally, this is from Wikiquote, from Haiku Master Basho himself:

Miru tokoro hana ni arazu to iu koto nashi,
omou tokoro tsuki ni arazu to iu koto nashi

There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
There is nothing you can think that is not the moon.


Classical Japanese Database, Translation #172 (Translation: Reginald Horace Blyth)

Last year, when looking at the full moon, I saw what the Japanese mean when they say there is a rabbit in the moon. It was as clear as anything! So why not see a man carrying a thorn bush accompanied by a dog. "This dog is my dog." Sleep well, under the moon's heavenly light!

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