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Yale 62

Red Moon Rising — a poem by Burgert Roberts


Introduction by Y62 Communications Team member Gary E. Richardson

Astronomically, a red or blood moon is the phase of a total lunar eclipse before and after totality, when the moonlight is dimmed and reddened by sunlight passing through the earth’s atmosphere.

From time immemorial on all continents, a blood moon has been an ominous sign foreshadowing disruption and destruction.

Perhaps most famously, the New Testament book of “Revelations” imagines that upon opening the sixth seal,

behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

Kalia Kelmenson, a Hawaiian mind-body explorer has another take on the blood moon prophesy:

An eclipsing of the brilliance of the moon allows for an exploration of the subconscious or hidden layers of our emotional and spiritual aspects. The spiritual meaning of the blood moon is the opening of the path to exploring what is often referred to as our darker side, emotions such as rage, shame, and grief. These emotions are not widely acknowledged in our culture, and yet they exist.

As has been noted on this site before, classmate Burgert Roberts is writing a libretto for environmental theater. It is a book of lyrics centered on the Gaia concept of our planet as a living organism. It is both a celebration of nature and a call to protect what might yet be saved from extinction and ecological collapse.

Far be it from me, as a former student of Harry Berger, Jr., to confuse a poet’s biography with his writing. However, I must note that our poet has a unique perspective on destruction and disruption. Recently, Burgert literally lost everything to a fire that destroyed his home, including his dogs and his writing.

Burgert offers this installment on his Gaia visioning:

Red Moon Rising by Burgert Roberts

There’s a swollen red Moon rising
Like an eyeball full of blood
A blind dead Blood Moon rising
Over living planet Earth
Is it the Earth that smokes with blood
Suffusing all the Moon?
The somber red Moon smoulders
Over fulminating seas
A red Moon for the fires
And the heatwaves and the storms
A Blood Moon for the bombers
And the missiles of mad war
It’s a bloody Moon for rhinos
It’s a bloody Moon for man
For cornered trapped and hunted ones
In islands of the wild:
Foreboding strife and famine
While humans multiply
The Blood Moon slowly rises
Over rainforests on fire
It’s a red Moon for Earth’s burning lungs
Polluted sea and sky
For death-entangled ship-struck whales
And shattered dolphin minds
For helpless penguins starving
From overfishing’s greed
For the logging war on forests
And homes wild beings need
The brooding red Moon augurs
Floods and fireclouds and drought
A deadly silent oracle
Of Nature’s alien turn,
The sullen red Moon complements
Extinction’s tide of blood.


We welcome your comments.

2 comments to Red Moon Rising

  • Peter Cassar Torreggiani

    hmm, very somber. I like personalization with natural creation, but there is much beauty to bring up gratitude too.

    Sorry to hear of the fire at Burgert’s home and hope nobody was actually injured. I’m struck that in pain human creation grows.

  • Steve Howard