When Australian poet Zora Bernice May Cross (1890–1964) penned this verse for her poem “The New Moon,” she captured the spectral purity of our planet’s nearest neighbor. Her inspiration for the third verse may have come from an old Vedic hymn that urges the Full Moon to work with a needle to sew her luminous garments: a silver one for the evening and a gold one for the day. What’s beautiful about this stanza is that the woman in the Moon, her colored garments, jewelry, and sewing needle, are more than poetic metaphors. Cross, whether she knew it or not, shares one of the Moon’s greatest secrets: It’s a fanciful world of imagined features and subtle color — visible wonders within the grasp of any binocular observer.
What have you got in your knapsack fair / White moon, bright moon, pearling the air / Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free / Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea? / Turquoise and beryl and rings of gold / Clear moon, dear moon, ne’er to be sold? — Zora Bernice May Cross