Charles Tomlinson

Image by Caroline Forbes

Poem introduction

But look, the moon has risen!

Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing down the Moon

I place on the sill a saucer
that I fill with water:
it rocks with a tidal motion,
as if that porcelain round
contained a small sea:
this threshold ocean
throws into confusion
the image that it seizes
out of the sky - the moon
just risen, and now in pieces
beneath the window: the glass
takes in the image at its source,
a clear shard of newness,
and lets it into the house
from pane to pane
riding slowly past:
when I look again
towards the sill, its dish
of moonlight is recomposing:
it lies still, from side to side
of the ceramic circle
curving across the water,
a sleeping bride:
for the moon's sake
do not wake her,
do not shake the saucer.

from The Vineyard Above the Sea (Oxford Poets / Carcanet, 1999), copyright © Charles Tomlinson 1999, used by permission of the author and the publisher


Charles Tomlinson

Charles Tomlinson Reading from his Poems

1Above Manhattan


3Revolution, Piazza di Spagna

4To Vasko Popa in Rome

5Winter Journey I

6Winter Journey IV

7To My Daughter

8Jessica Learned to Kiss

9After the Poetry Reading

10Colloquy with a Grandchild

11A Given Grace

12A Rose for Janet


14Paring the Apple

15The Picture of J.T. in a Prospect of Stone

16John Mayhew, or The Allotment

17At Stoke

18Etruria Vale

19The Marl Pits



22Against Travel

23Las Trampas, U.S.A.


25A Death in the Desert

26Arroyo Hondo

27Mr. Brodsky


29On the Late Plane

30A Sense of Distance

31During Rain

32Drawing down the Moon

33The Door

Books by Charles Tomlinson