Friday, 23 November 2012


I cannot witness the rising of the moon without thinking of my father, who loved the moon, and used to watch with delight as the first thin slip of the new moon gradually waxed to become a full brilliant disc, upon the surface of which it was possible to see the shadowed outlines of meres and mountains with the naked eye.

For some years my father had suffered cataracts in both eyes which had grievously distorted his vision, presenting the world as fractured and indistinct, ghostly duplications taking the stead of wholeness, print dissolving and blurring before his gaze. He was in his seventies when the cataracts were removed, and his vision restored once more to shining completeness. For him, it was though a miracle had taken place, he spoke of it as such, and to look upon him, witnessing the air of lightness about him, the new assuredness of his step, but above all, the clean, clear youthfulness of his eyes, we could believe it to be so.

We bought him a pair of binoculars so that he could look more closely on the moon, and a moon map, so that he could understand what he saw, gifts he had long postponed because he would not have been able to see the moon without a gleaming twin appearing alongside, the features of both muddled and inseperable.

In the back garden he tilted the binoculars upwards, exclaiming with child like enthusiasm at what he was now able to see, moving us to tears at his pleasure, hopeful that the transformation to his sight would be long lived.

During the last days in hospital, just before his death, his eyes had seemed very blue, opened wide in anxiety, the eyes of a frightened child. It was difficult to recall that night in the garden, when hopefulness had embraced us as the light of the rising moon had enveloped the garden, holding us rapt, bound together, for those precious moments invulnerable to the fact of our mortality, our inevitable separation from each other. It is the frantic intensity of his worried eyes that I remember, and which I would have given my life to assauge.

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