Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Crescent waxing

The sync fairies have a way of dredging up my juvenilia -- which is somewhat embarrassing, but if you want to ride with the sync fairies, embarrassment is one of the first things you have to give up. Today I suddenly remembered these two stanzas from an unfinished poem I wrote as a student. I no longer have the manuscript, but the Olentangy River reference dates it to 2001-2002.

Went to the record store and bought
Bookends because it matched my mood
Still haven’t played it (I forgot)
Stayed out all night to pace and brood
Along the Olentangy River
Crescent waxing, just a sliver

Up in a pine tree in the park
Collected works of Yeats in hand
I sit and read till it is dark
How innocent -- just like I’d planned
Won’t someone take a photograph?
Crescent waxing, almost half

Bookends is a Simon and Garfunkel album, and that duo's recent entrance into the sync stream (see "More on Joan and Claire" and "Over troubled water") is what brought the poem to mind. William Wright also recently brought up a Five for Fighting album with a very similar name, Bookmarks, in "Running with Claire."

Then the second stanza brings in Yeats, and each stanza ends with a reference to the phase of the moon. In my first dream-encounter with Claire ("Rapunzel and the True Song of Wandering Aengus"), she quizzed me about the phases of the moon and then gave me the "true" version of a Yeats poem. I could remember only a few details of this "True Song," and googling those details led me to a book called The Witch's Tower. The poem quoted above was apparently written when I was living in Morrill Tower, on the banks of the Olentangy in Columbus, Ohio. After Peter Jackson's The Two Towers came out, many students started calling the building -- which is one of the university's Two Towers -- Minas Morrill. This was of course a reference to Tolkien's Minas Morgul, literally "Tower of Sorcery." (If that seems like a creepy thing to call your dorm, it was an improvement over its old nickname: the Jeffrey Dahmer Building.)

Of course, there's also the obligatory dark reference.

Were all those syncs pre-arranged, lying dormant in a forgotten poem for twenty-some years until I was ready to notice them? I guess the vision that was planted in my brain all those years ago still remains. Or, as Yeats is quoted as saying in The Witch's Tower, "The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

2 comments:

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I just checked, and the moon is currently in the waxing crescent phase, because of course it is.

William Wright (WW) said...

Morgul doesn't just mean Sorcery, but has at its root Dark as well (Mor = Dark, Night).

It is an interesting match to Morrill, which means "Dark Skin or Black", which has come up on your blog, as well as mine, with Beings described as having 'Dark Skin" (which I believe refers more to the absence of Light). I am sure Morrill sounding like Morgul was the principle reason for students calling it that, the name connection goes beyond the similar sound.


Minas Morgul used to be called Minas Ithil before it was taken over by the Witch King. Minas Ithil means Tower of the Moon, obviously. It was said that Moonlight reflected off the white marble walls and made it shine


There was another Tower with Moon symbolism in Tirion, built by none other than Ingwe (Gim Githil as well as potentially Pharazon). It was called the Mindon Eldalieva.
That Tower was the tallest in Tirion, was made of white stone, and had a silver lamp on top of it that shone out into the 'sea' (i.e., space).


My guess is that as part of the restoration of Tirion and the gathering back to that place, the Tower will be restored and relit with this Silver Moonlight, which will serve as a beacon for Elves returning home.

Go to the window; it’s dark but clear

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