Имати: Moon in the Afternoon, 2019 (CC)
From The Paris Review:
What do you think of the moon? Joyce considers “her luminary reflection … her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage … her arid seas, her silence.” So: light, power, water, beauty, insanity, delinquency, tranquility, inscrutability, silence. It’s a start. The moon reflects back what we aim at it; what we see there tells us as much about ourselves as it does about this chalky pearl two hundred forty thousand miles away, give and take. “Between us / we had seventeen words / to describe the moon,” writes the poet Arundhathi Subramaniam. I wonder what they were. Let’s see how many we can come up with.
Before that, one word. In more than two dozen languages, the words for month and moon are the same. In Croatian, mjesec; Czech, měsíc; Slovak, mesiac. In Filipino, buwan; in Malay, bulan. In Japanese, 月 (tsuki); Hmong, lub hlis; Maori, marama; Igbo, onwa; and Zulu, inyanga. In Romanian, Estonian, Uzbek, and Turkish: lună, kuu, oy, ay. Our timekeeper, our month maker, our definer of cycles, tetherballing around us in 27.32-day spans. I say our as though we own it, as though it belongs to us, attached to where we are by the invisible bands of gravity. It does not belong to us. If anything, we belong to it, subjects to its rhythms, its pull, its power, the night’s one glowing, slow-blinking eye. Across the world, notions of month and moon mingle and mesh in the very language they’re expressed. You cannot talk about one without talking about the other.
Lună Kuu Oy Ay
I saw it written and I saw it say.