Hunger Moon

Jane Cooper

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About the Author

Jane Cooper was born on October 9, 1924 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and later moved to Princeton. She attended Vassar College and later got a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1946. She later received her Masters from the University of Iowa. She was a teacher in poetry and retired in 1987. She died in 2007 from Parkinsons disease.

The last full moon of February
stalks the fields; barbed wire casts a shadow.

Rising slowly, a beam moved toward the west

stealthily changing position

until now, in the small hours, across the snow

it advances on my pillow

to wake me, not rudely like the sun

but with the cocked gun of silence.

I am alone in a vast room

where a vain woman once slept.

The moon, in pale buckskins, crouches

on guard beside her bed.

Slowly the light wanes, the snow will melt

and all the fences thrum in the spring breeze

but not until that sleeper, trapped

in my body, turns and turns.

Theme/ Interpretation

The poem is about the last full moon of the equinox. It was called hunger moon because it was still too early to plant the food because seeds from the previous harvest were running low. Although this is what its about, it has deeper messages. The theme seems to be more about emotional struggles. Possibly about being alone and just waiting for someone to take the pain away from you. As the moon completes its nightly cycle, the person feels like it has been a long period of time and yet no one has come.
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