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Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.
Thomas Hardy, At a Lunar Eclipse
It is the very error of the moon,
She comes more near the earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
William Shakespeare, Othello Act 5 Scene 2
Over the mountains
Of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
Ride, boldly ride
Edgar Allan Poe, Eldorado
Under blue moon I saw you
Echo and the Bunnymen, The Killing Moon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The Waterboys, The Whole of the Moon
Over Sarusawa Lake when the mist is thick
The rising and setting of the moon
No man knows
Trevor Leggett, Zen and the Ways
What has the sword to do with poetry about the moon? What inspirations is the swordsman expected to get from viewing the moon as the day dawns? What secret is here?
Daisetz T Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture
Last week there was an eclipse of the moon. Over Japan the moon became a faded red.
I have always liked the moon. It's in the name of my blog. Moon in the water. The moon in the water is an idea from zen and Japanese swordsmanship. The moon is free of emotion. Water is free of emotion. If there is a reflection of the moon on the water or of there is no reflection of the moon on the water it's all the same. In zen and in the martial arts your mind must always be free. Never getting stuck on one point.
Monday in English means moon day. The day of the moon. Strangely it's exactly the same word in Japanese. Getsuyoubi. 月曜日. げつようび. The day of the moon. And by the way Sunday - the day of the sun in English - is also the same as the Japanese. Nichiyoubi. 日曜日. にちようび. The day of the sun.
The word month also comes from the word moon. In modern Japanese months are numbered simply from one or first month to twelve or twelfth month. The old Japanese names for months are very interesting. December is shiwasu 師走 しわす priests running. Because priests have to rush around at the end of the year performing ceremonies.
In English the names of the months come from Latin. The fifth month of the Roman calendar was eventually renamed for Julius Caesar - July in English. The sixth month was renamed for Augustus Caesar - August in English. September means seventh month, October means eighth month, November means ninth month and December means tenth month. There were only ten months originally. Winter was a period without months. That's such an interesting concept. It's like a ma ai - a critical distance - between the end of autumn and the beginning of spring. Eventually January and February were added. January is named after Janus, the god of the gate. The god with two faces. One face looking back to the old year and one face looking forward to the new year.