COMPLETING VLAHUTA’S “MOON AND NIGHT”


-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
major astro-photos Valentin Grigore
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

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In 2017 October 2, returning home,
I saw the Sun setting and the Moon rising.









I enjoyed so much this new encounter with the round Moon
that during the next evening I went to the Youth Park
to see the satellite among the tree branches colored by artificial lights.





















And I remembered a poem,
“Moon and Night” by Alexandru Vlahuta (1858-1919),
a poet and writer whose statue I found a few days later
in the Herastrau Park.

Alexandru Vlahuta was born in Barlad
and, although he worked in the educational system especially in Bucharest,
in 1915 he became the first honorary president of a cultural society
in his native town, the Barladan Academy.

Vlahuta’s masterpiece was a laureate book,
Picturesque Romania (published in 1903),
for which he had documented crossing the Romanian Kingdom
and seeing the country’s beauties with his own eyes.

If in 1881
Constantin Barozzi (coordinator), Constantin I. Bratianu (cartographer)
and Constantin Capitaneanu (astronomer and geodesist)
published the first detailed map of the Romanian Kingdom
(proclaimed in the same year and including
the former principalities of Wallachia and Moldova,
plus the Dobrogea province),
I would say that Vlahuta wrote the first literary map of Romania,
consolidating the national consciousness
and anticipating the 1918 Great Romanian Union.



Returning to “Moon and Night”,
the poem presents a rhymed and rhythmic dialogue,
and I freely translated it as faithful as I could,
placing the Moon’s speech between
a picture with the satellite in natural environment (2017 October 3)
and a series which started with the Crowned Moon of 2017 October 5
and ended with the Crowned Moon of 2017 December 28.



“Moon:

Night, you are the black slave of eternity, while I
Am the queen. From the throne of your darkness,
I overflow waves of light, and an entire nation of stars
Moves in my rays.

Without me, you would be an unknown wanderer
Like a coil of darkness endlessly rolling.
Humiliated, you should bend your head and incline in front of me.
Night, I am your queen.”

-Alexandru Vlahuta
in ADG’s translation-



















































































I continued with the Crowned Moon in the New Year Night
2017 December 31-2018 January 1.

















I didn’t stop here just because 2018 had to be a remarkable year
regarding the Moon’s aspects.

Thus, it began with a privileged month, January,
in which began the first evening included the Super Moon
(the closest Full Moon to Earth during one year)
and its last evening with the… Super Blue Blood Moon
(the closest Full Moon to Earth during one year, too,
the second Full Moon during one month,
and the Full Moon during a penumbral eclipse)!

So here are aspects from 2018 January!







































I took only two pictures in February…





But March repeated two elements from January:
the Full Moon (which I caught crowned) on the first evening
and the Blue Moon on the last evening.























The pictures in April began with the grey light of the Moon
(2018-04-18)
and ended with the Full Moon in Venus’ Belt
(2018-04-29).















I continued in May, June, July…
until I saw a total lunar eclipse in a tree branch (2018 July 27).

































Then I remembered that Vlahuta published “Moon and Night” in 1881
in Armonia (Harmony), a magazine he edited in Targoviste
(where he lived for a few years).

So if I made my photos in Bucharest,
for the last part I “invited” even Valentin Grigore
(nobody else than the president of SARM
and a current citizen of Targoviste)
to enrich the project with his pictures:

-the Haloed Moon (2018 January 8);
-the Crowned Moon (2018 Januarary 28);
-the Super Blue Moon (2018 January 31, after the penumbral eclipse).







I also placed the reply of “Night” from the poem
between two pictures of Valentin Grigore
(taken in 2017 November during a national event, Astro 2017,
organized by SARM):



“Night:

Moon, you are the white slave, a flake always destined to go.
I am older than the time, and larger than the world.
I am motionless, and I don’t meditate that in my country
A nation of stars moves.

And if I would not veil a black towel on your face,
If I would not be dark, you would never shine.
Knell and kiss my mantle.
Moon, I am your queen.”

-Alexandru Vlahuta
in ADG’s translation-



I felt tempted to write my own reply:

Dear Vlahuta,
Sometimes I wonder:

If we are subjects of the night,
What are the Moon and the stars for us?

Superior flight?
Or… just saving divine light?

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-

And finally we tried to make peace
between the visions of Alexandru Vlahuta
and prepared a response over time
as an astro-photo-poem (cosmopoem):

I wrote a stanza
between two other pictures of the president of SARM
(the last one with the total lunar eclipse of 2018 July 27
among the stars of the night):



Suddenly a simple thought
Put my entire mind on fire:
The Moon is just our heavenly queen,
While the Night is an infinite empire.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-



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© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)