The Clearing Moon
by Helen L. Moore

Sometimes it takes a house-move to see things clearly –
stuff (with its underwritten stories) pressing in from every side
like the saggy padding of the sofa where we sink
when part of us has died.

Last night, full Moon in Sagittarius, and a burning wish
to build a funeral pyre for old expressions
of myself — belongings piled
to fuel a conflagration raging to the sky.

But the constraints of an urban garden
required a taming of my ambitions – so the wok on tripod
legs sited on the lawn, and into the flames
sheaves of notebooks, letters, Valentine’s cards,

the marriage album in natural fibres, and How to Survive
a Pisces. The fire wanted more, and soon devoured
bundled scrolls with my qualifications… (for what, Life?
In all these years no one’s ever asked to see them!)

Over three hours I stoked the swirling dance
of transformation… the magic of the smoking poker,
blackened leaves of paper curling,
making fragile rows of Bracket Fungus.

Often the wind conjured Fire-flies
out over the lawn, or bigger satellites that rose
and fell like Toadstools, wondrous orange spots
winking into night.

Finally, the Moon rising behind chimneypots…
clouds vividly back-lit, before an inky wash
would come to blot it out.
Such moments were mirrors…

the mind, unquiet for days, settling into stillness
as I raked the embers, observed thoughts,
my emotions’ ebb and flow… until at last the ego floated
in the subterranean river of the soul

SOURCE: This poem was first published in Blackbox Manifold, issue 15.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Loved up on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, September 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Inanimate objects crowd our lives, and often seem to over-occupy our attention. I love the freedom I feel when I spend time in wild places with simply a tent and a backpack, and all the stuff that furnishes my world disappears from the horizon. Often belongings are linked with the past, and I used a recent house move to sweep away the baggage of previous relationships. Fire is a great cleanser, and it felt powerful to commune late into the night, inviting new energies in.


Helen L. Moore
is an award-winning British ecopoet, who has recently followed her heart to move from Southwest England to Northeast Scotland. Her two poetry collections are Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), described by Alasdair Paterson as “in the great tradition of visionary politics in British poetry,”and ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015), acclaimed by John Kinsella as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics.” Visit her at

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author reading at the Southbank Centre, London, April 2016.