Yet another poem about the moon

Henri plants his tomatoes by the moon,
following the ebb and flow of that great orb,
its roughcast skin, its luminous high-voltage shine.

Everything that grows above the ground
needs sap to rise: so cabbages and beans and peas
he tucks in well before the moon grows round –

even one day past full and already it’s too late.
But crops that burgeon underground are different.
Potatoes, beetroot, carrots, swedes, must wait

until the disc begins to shrink and fade, taking
the sap down into them for growth. Henri
looks us in the eye, his four-square figure reckoning

that we, urban, ignorant, science-fed,
will smile, or raise an eyebrow, but do just what he says,
while keeping doubts concealed. Unsaid.

But when at midnight, the wide photograph
that’s daily colour-printed by the sun
reverts to black and white, its negative,

it finds me sleepless, wild-eyed, half-undone –
and then I know he’s right: that brilliant sphere,
the full moon rising, exerts her dark pull everywhere.

Beatrice Garland

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