Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Moon, The and a Classic Poem

by Catherine Benson

When I was very young I saw a picture of the moon in a book. Underneath it said The Moon. I recognised the picture because I often saw the real moon. But the words were an excitement. Moon – yes, with two full moons inside. I asked what the other word was. I was told it was – the.

When I looked at a newspaper I found that word everywhere on the page. I was very excited because here was something I said, a word that I said but hadn’t seen until now – the.

Moon was easy but a word that I said, a word in mid-air was amazing. And here was a picture of that word.

I soon noticed other words that were like that – a, and, I, you, but, if… There were lots to find. And that’s how I began to read. Now reading is one of my favourite things to do. I also write poetry and draw pictures.

By the way, my favourite poem when I was young was Silver by Walter de la Mare. And guess what? It’s about the moon.
Walter de la Mare

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and a silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

For more of Walter de la Mare’s wonderful words why not try the Selected Poems of Walter de la Mare (Poet to Poet: An Essential Choice of Classic Verse)


  1. Just such a lovely poem, Cathy.

    I can't remember learning to read, but I can remember looking at the word 'news' in a Ladybird book and not knowing what it said, as I couldn't 'sound' it out.

    When we were playing 'I Spy' with our 4 year old son once, we had to give up - he said that what he could 'spy' began with 'A' (sounded as in CAT). We couldn't see anything anywhere. It turned out to be an 'owl'!

  2. A gentle poem, Cathy, with never aging imagery. Literacy is something we who have it take for granted but it really is a magic thing that sounds and messages can be recorded and transmitted from person to person on a page.
    By the way if you smile at the moon is that a moonbeam?

  3. Oh I love Walter de la Mare, I remember mine as more of a struggle, mum hammering home phonemes long after school had given up but I'm so glad she pesisted reading is still one of my greatest joys and in turn inspired me to write.