We are well into our Inspired by Hollywood Series at West Hill. This week we looked at the intensely beautiful Moonlight, and the decidedly flattened spectrum of life its protagonist is forced to live. Previous Sundays have brought discussions of Arrival and Manchester by the Sea. One thing that is abundantly clear each and every year we look at movies nominated for Best Picture Oscars, there is never a clear winner. Each picture has strengths and nuances that bring its own unique power to bear in the heart and mind of the viewer and no picture leaves that viewer unchanged.
As in previous years, my Focused Moments become “inspired” during the Academy award leadup. That is, they are inspired by the movie rather than a simply reflection on a theme. Moonlight, both the movie and the phenomenon, inspired this poem. None of us have grown up free of the textures of our childhoods. No child get to adulthood free to live the full spectrum of life into which they were born. Moonlight shared the implacability of circumstance on a young black child/teen/man who lives in the flattened blue hues of moonlight.
Under the circumstance of moonlight,
red disappears first.
Yellow is gone.
And green turns to shades of grey
or ripples into a black no conifer has ever been.
I know it’s green.
I know the birdhouse
swinging from its branch is red.
I know the finches gathered early at the feeder
dulled as they are in winter’s plumes.
As I gaze upon a changed
and blue-lit world,
I hold these truths within me.
So why is it I cannot hold to other truths
that time to time are hidden, too,
that cast them in this same and changing light,
flattening the spectrum
from multihued and wondrous
to a cold and hard insistent blue?
Why can I not see beauty still
in hearts grown cold,
or dreams that withered long ago?
Why am I so quick to see the depth of anger
in this circumstantial light
and not the love that spoke just yesterday
or the invitation that might take me back to wonder?
Why do I insist the moonlight prism,
that robs him and her and her and him
of the miracle of childish wonder,
of youth and hope and “wants-to-be”,
is the truth that stands before me?
We were all wonder once,
riding the chariots of our fathers’ arms by day;
braving the night,
safe ‘twixt the castles of our mothers’ breasts.
We cast the trees as our companions
and bade them witness our grandest schemes.
We yearned for affirmation.
It bent and teased our being toward its singular hue,
the kaleidoscopes that once defined us
‘til all is lit like moonlight,
and its cold, and hard insistent blue.
©2017 gretta vosper