The Distance of the Moon – Ink on Paper by James Moore
“The moon looks upon many night flowers; the night flowers see but one moon.”- Jean Ingelow
One of the more fascinating things that we discovered lately is that for hundreds of years people have been planting their plants and vegetables depending on where the moon is in its cycle.
For example, they would plant annual flowers and fruit and vegetables that bear crops above ground (such as tomatoes, and courgettes, peas) during the waxing of the Moon, that is from the day the Moon is new to the day it is full. As the moonlight increases each night, they believe plants are encouraged to grow leaves and stems.
During the waning of the Moon – from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again – gardeners would plant flowering bulbs, biennial and perennial flowers, and vegetables that bear crops below ground (such as onions, carrots, and potatoes – the kind of plants known as the nightshade family). As the moonlight decreases night by night, it was believed that plants are encouraged to grow roots, tubers, and bulbs.
The sense of solitude was immense. I could not see or realise my own body, and I seemed to exist merely in my perception of the waves and of the crying birds, and of the smell of seaweed – JM Sygne, The Aran Islands (1906)
At Jesse’s suggestion, at James’s instigation both, first Jesse, then James, in penumbra urinated, their sides contiguous, their organs of micturition reciprocally rendered invisible by manual circumposition, their gazes, first Jesse’s, then James’s, elevated to the projected luminous and semiluminous shadow.
Dark falls on this mid-western town
where we once lived when myths collided.
Dusk has hidden the bridge in the river
which slides and deepens
to become the water
the hero crossed on his way to hell.
Not far from here is our old apartment.
We had a kitchen and an Amish table.
We had a view. And we discovered there
love had the feather and muscle of wings
and had come to live with us,
a brother of fire and air.
We had two infant children one of whom
was touched by death in this town
and spared: and when the hero
was hailed by his comrades in hell
their mouths opened and their voices failed and
there is no knowing what they would have asked
about a life they had shared and lost.
I am your wife.
It was years ago.
Our child was healed. We love each other still.
Across our day-to-day and ordinary distances
we speak plainly. We hear each other clearly.
And yet I want to return to you
on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were,
with snow on the shoulders of your coat
and a car passing with its headlights on:
I see you as a hero in a text —
the image blazing and the edges gilded —
and I long to cry out the epic question
my dear companion:
Will we ever live so intensely again?
Will love come to us again and be
so formidable at rest it offered us ascension
even to look at him?
But the words are shadows and you cannot hear me.
You walk away and I cannot follow.
Words: Eavan Boland, Love, from In a Time of Violence (1994). Image: JesseJames.
To look back through it along the headlands that stand as if fixed for all eternity, one behind another to the limits of vision, is to look into the jaws of time – Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage.
A view from the JesseJames Seat, located on a beach on Inis Oírr where the artists found inspiration. It is said that this was JesseJames’s favourite seat on Inis Oírr. Situated on Trá Caorach and overlooking An Sunda Ó Dheas, the sound between Inis Oírr and the cliffs of Moher.