Ballad of the Moon

Published April 25, 2013 by kdorholt

*I tried to write a ballad based on a topic new to me. I did not know that the Native Americans named the months based on the full-moon cycle. This poem is a summary of the story I learned about the importance of each month and its name.

Ballad of the Moon

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

My first month brings the howling wolves
that cry so fierce, so hungrily
They’re ‘round the villages at night
Oh they are a frightful sight
and because of this, “Wolf Month” I shall be.

The second month’s so challenging
The snows fall down so harsh, most heavily
And brave hunters often kill no game
When nature is so mean–untame
Then “Heavy Snow” or “Hunger” man calls me.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

The next month brings a change in life
ground softens–worms abound
underneath the crusted snow
inviting back robin and crow
By “Worm,” “Full Crust,” or “Crow” I’m crowned

Next flowers return with pink wild phlox
Green grass shoots cover the prairie
Along the coast shad swim up to spawn
And sing a welcome new spring dawn
So “Pink”, or “Grass” or “Fish” is what I’ll be.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

When blossoms scattered o’er the earth
In every wood and dale and nook
Then flaxen corn in field is planted
The golden gift our gods have granted
At “Flower” or “Corn Planting Moon” you’ll look

And if you desire the red-heart fruit
Strewn o’er the great green land
And by the soothing summer creeks
Their bounty and their season peaks
The “Strawberry Month” is sure and grand.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

Our hunters watch the young buck close
In my month’s thunderous, warm days.
As antlers push from bucks’ foreheads,
In coats of velvet they are spread
It’s “Buck” or “Thunder Moon” that rule their ways

From Lake Champlain to the Great Lakes
I make fresh sturgeon freely flow
and men from many tribes come fish
through reddish, sultry hazy mist
In “Sturgeon” or “Red Moon,” with joy, they row.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

With me come all the labors’ fruits
Of those who work the Indian land
They harvest corn, pumpkin and rice
and squash and beans; the means of life
when winter brings its times of strife
I’m “Harvest Moon”–so bountiful and grand.

Now time has come for leaves to fall
and fattened buck and doe to roam,
so hunters grab their arrow and bow
to kill wildlife–the fox or buck or doe.
The “Hunter” brings its people food for home.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me

The “Beaver Moon” is used to set the traps
for beaver and their warming fur.
While beaver now their dens prepare
with food for winter’s blizzard terror,
both man and beaver must all ways endure.

In my last month the winter spreads
the land in chills and grips it bold.
The darkness falls and nighttime grows.
The wind whirls frozen, bitter snows.
That’s when I’m “Cold” or “Long Nights,” I am told.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

Do not forget the fine full moon–
the monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
who name twelve months by me.

.
* Moon-month name information provided from: Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

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