Blood Red Moon Poem – The Lunar Eclipse 27th July, 2018

Ruth HartleyFamily, Poetry, Southern Africa, Zambia8 Comments




On a routine night the ordinary moon swims through a shoal of cloud.

It slides upwards as blotches of water vapour in saturated air slip away eastwards.

It’s a dead ball of dirt whose dust

was kicked about by two astronauts in 1969.

Held in place by Earth’s gravitational pull, it circles our planet,

one side dark as the space behind it, the other facing me always

keeps waxing and waning again and again.


I stare back.

Eye it.

Eyes blur.

I wipe my specs.


Bright-light neighbours


A walnut tree (Juglans nigra) black-blocks my viewing.

Son in Lusaka posts a pic.

Daughter in England taps out WOW!

Drought’s end obscures the Welsh sky.

The dead red Sky stone

looks quite 3D

like the one on TV.


Time spins slowly



THE MOON FLARES momentarily

and the eclipse ends.

– please let the light that shines on me – shine on the ones I love –

Captives of the Internet, to Facebook in thrall,

The extraordinary moon shines on us all.


Photos of the lunar eclipse taken by Alessandra Troielli on a farm near Lusaka, Zambia.

Thank you, Alessandra.

I got out of bed at 5.30 am to write this poem and thought of the poets I love and admire – Pascale Petit, Brian Bilston, Elodie Olson-Coons, George Szirtes, Tanvir Bush and many others – hope the moon shone on you all!

8 Comments on “Blood Red Moon Poem – The Lunar Eclipse 27th July, 2018”

  1. Susan Thobois

    Hello Ruth,

    Nice early morning poetic reaction to the eclipse! Thanks for sending it.

    Friends with us non-stop from two weeks ago to the end of August will probably make a get-together with you difficult, if not impossible. Sorry!!

    Hope all is well. Again, many thanks to Tanvir for her talk. Susan

    1. Ruth Hartley

      I am glad you enjoyed it, Susan! I love it when inspiration seizes me in the middle of the night as long as I can get up and write! Glad too, that you found Tanvir’s talk interesting. It’s still a painful subject.

  2. Lorraine Tennett

    What a……..momentous thing
    To remember for years!
    To remember with tears…..

    The clouds blocked it out for me????☁️

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Yes, that is sad Lorraine! I found myself thinking that – the moon and the weather may change together but the change of the moon won’t change the weather! Much as the rain was needed it was a pity that it happened that night.

  3. Juliet Ives

    A momentous thing indeed! But what made this one even more momentous was the fact that Mars was also clearly visible just below the Moon, and was at its closest possible proximity to the Earth at that time, and showed its red colour to perfection.
    A blood-red Moon in conjunction with the Bringer of War? The ancients would have had something to say about that!

    1. Ruth Hartley

      How fascinating a conjunction it was as you say, Juliet. Not too many other people commented on it either and it sounds like the start of a good story for modern writers never mind the Ancients!

    1. Ruth Hartley

      I was very lucky to be able to use the really exceptional photos taken by Alessandra Troielli. We did see the eclipse but not as clearly!

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