The following is a response to Italo Calvino’s short story, “The Distance of the Moon.”
I fear it,
the terror of the night skies,
where our cries become silenced,
where my agonized eyes,
desperately search for change in your ignorant ones.
As rain soften the serenity of your sleep,
thunder bangs into mines.
Closed doors always become open,
Blind eyes always hold light,
Deaf ears can still hear sound.
Mama always did say,
how stars always shine at night,
but some are hidden by the depths of these dark skies.
She never told me how the dark sky
was to be cherished in its onslaught of fear,
how these magical stars were only but
the massacre of an evil illusion.
She always whispered how a piece of a star
had fallen into my left eye,
and how it could never stay there,
because it always went again upwards to complete itself whole.
But what about those days where I could not find my special star in the dreary night sky?
What about those nights that trickled into the years forever, in which the cruel convoluted clouds never did drift away?
I had the light many yearned to reach,
it had fallen into the pools of my left eye,
where it never sank, but remained afloat.
How I needed its agonized cries to be silenced by the night sky.
The fool it was I,
for stars never do die without giving birth to a scatter of others,
their muteness only onsets the most deafening of cacophonies.
Mama always said to wish upon shooting stars,
but they never were the serene my youth perceived them to be.
Wishing stars always fall, do they not?
and never do they land so silent, but with a bang.
One that even the night sky cannot hush.
Mama, what in your eyes was beautiful,
became in my eyes the master of devastation,
blind eyes always hold light,
blind eyes always hold light,
blind eyes always hold light,
Mama, I never knew yours did too.
I read Calvino’s story and became entrapped within the natural essence and beauty of the moon he captures and how so ingeniously he is able to intertwine it with truth and realism. I never had thought of using something that is so foreign to me, yet is something that is a recurring aspect of my daily life within writing. So I chose the stars, and chose to keep the spirit of the night that Calvino had used as his setting. But the thing is, Calvino never brought the moon into our reality, but his own illusory one. Therefore, the stars were brought into a reality that had not happened to me, and was and will still remain my greatest fear; becoming blind.
The night is something that forces us all to be quiet and allows us to possess a blanket of indifference, for any cry we hear is invariably hidden. We become confined to the sweetness of sleep, where darkness cannot exist. But to another, where sleep escapes them, they become suffocated by the evil murders the darkness infringes upon them. And the narrator of this poem is the other; she is restrained by the night. Whereas a sound sleeper is ignorant for they are experiencing freedom from life, she is living in the midst of the blemished animal life can be; she is becoming blind.
I brought in another essence of nature through the rain. One often sleeps to the rain as it being a soothing sense of musicality, but once asleep, they fail to witness how the rain that once may begin to form drops in puddles, will become jagged and harsh. The softness one may have fell asleep to, will become the very clamorous one remains awake to. This represents the multitude aspects that are associated with the night; how it can suppress and embody the silence, but at the same time enhance the very noise we fear.
The third stanza is the narrator’s fight, it is her combat against her disability, and through the variation of the limitations introduced within these three lines, a sense of universality is evoked. This mirrors how when Calvino wrote the Deaf One’s infatuation with the moon, it consequently created a forceful limitation for Mrs. Vhd Vhd to attain his affections, which allowed Calvino to present the universal concept of immoral desire humans can succumb to. As the word “stars” makes its appearance with the word “Mama” it represents the close link between the two, and how “Mama’s” certainty within the appearance of stars fails to resonate itself within the narrator. Mama is the Deaf One, as she understands the ethereal.
The fifth stanza initiates the conflict the narrator associates with the stars, and how through realizing their maliciousness she is able to overcome the one thing she used to fear; the night. As Mrs. Vhd Vhd realizes how the moon may steal her Deaf One she overcomes her fear of being dutiful to her husband, and how she once remained moral in hiding her immortality, she now embodies her unethical desires. The stars remove the light in the narrator’s eyes, and the moon strips Mrs. Vhd Vhd’s chances at attaining an authentic love.
The sixth stanza represents the narrators yearning to attain the faith and belief of what was. It is her infatuation with her previous hope and conviction in which she still possessed the luxury of time to witness the world of sight, as it had not yet slid from her grasp. The seventh stanza pokes holes in the narrator’s faith and determination, as she is now at a helpless delay in her life, which will never enter the stage of continuing the past. The narrator begins to realize she has captured the ethereal, alike to Mrs. Vhd Vhd who becomes bound to the moon for a matter of weeks. The narrator seeks to change the star that has ingrained itself into her left eye, but the desperation only serves to worsen with her fear.
As the narrator realizes the star’s permanence, Mrs. Vhd Vhd recognizes her incompetence in competing with the moon. For they both accept that they will fail to acquire what they need. The narrator becomes accustomed to her blindness, as does Mrs. Vhd Vhd to her distance. It is only in this very realization in which the narrator is able to comprehend the differences in her and her Mama’s perception upon the stars, that she is able to understand her mother’s infatuation with the ethereal, for she was blind as well. Mrs. Vhd Vhd realizes that although the Deaf One and her love not each other but others, how their love in its essence will remain the same. And her immoral desire becomes pure as she is able to sacrifice herself to become ingrained within the moon, which will prove to be the only manner she is able to witness a smile of tenderness and affection directed at her from the Deaf One even if it was not meant for her.
*Sorry, I tried many times to place spaces in between the stanzas of the poem but the website would not let me do so.