Ghostly Galleon

It’s bitterly cold here this week. The bitter cold makes the moon and stars seem brighter and more inviting — I want to step out onto my back porch and look at the stars but **brrr** it’s too cold. So I stood taking pictures of the moon through the patio door.
Whenever I look at the moon, two lines of poetry come to mind – either Cumming’s “there’s the moon, there is something faithful and mad” or Noyes’ “[t]he moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas”. This week it was a Noyes kind of moon.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

CrescentMoonYou can read the rest of this wonderful poem at The Poem Hunter.

The “ghostly galleon” line reminds of Montague Dawson‘s, Crescent Moon (a copy of which is hanging in my son’s bedroom).

For more poetry, visit the wonderful and talented Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.

Did you read The Highwayman in High School? My wonderful English teacher worked it into a unit on Romeo and Juliet. I still love the sound of this poem — reading it aloud is a pleasure.

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10 Responses to Ghostly Galleon

  1. Tabatha says:

    How marvelous to think of those two poems when you look at the moon! You’ve inspired me to start a collection of moon poems :-) You might like to hear Loreena McKennitt’s version of The Highwayman, if you haven’t heard it before.

  2. Matt Forrest says:

    Beautiful, ominous, stirring! Thanks for sharing, Katya!

  3. Matt Forrest says:

    Beatiful, ominous, stirring…thanks for sharing, Katya!

  4. Tara says:

    Oh this brings back memories! I had to memorize it in 4th. grade – and the cadence is still with me.

  5. Gorgeous photograph + haunting poem= powerful post. Thanks for sharing, Katya!

  6. jama says:

    What a great photo! I hadn’t heard of “The Highwayman” until Megan Follows recited it in “Anne of Green Gables.” It’s such an unforgettable poem; thanks for reminding me about it again. :)

  7. Linda Baie says:

    I’ve studied moon poems with students & never thought of this one, Katya. Goofy of me because I have a fond memory of it. It is so beautiful, a favorite of mine since high school when my favorite English teacher recited it to us & I remember it was just so gorgeous I wanted it again, & of course as a teen, it was a love story not to be missed. I love that your teacher worked it into the study of Romeo & Juliet, Katya. How lovely to do so. Thanks!

  8. Mary Lee says:

    Wow! Great moon photo! I can totally get behind the idea of moonwatching from indoors in this cold weather!

  9. Hi Katya, I am in love with the moon. I always am in awe when I look at the night skies, I could stare at it all day. Cummings’ “there’s the moon, there is something faithful and mad” sounds like something I should look for. The Highwayman is also positively eerie, I likey! :)

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