the last great challenge of literary prose

For years I’ve contemplated the moon, when it is but a sliver, and wondered what metaphor might best serve to capture it. Sliver, by the way, is very low on my list. Suppose I were to channel my inner poet, what might he have to say about it. Ready? Well after years of meticulous attention and studious effort, and even additional months of careful refinement and polishing, the very best I can come up with is toe nail clipping. The diurnal course of a toe nail clipping? The soft glow of detritus? Really? Pathetic. But it’s the best I got. There’s a reason I’m a blogger not a poet after all. Still, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open to any taker bold enough to tackle the great sliver/toe nail literary challenge. Guess what? Poet and novelist J. Harrison has put a pro bowl hit on it. This gorgeous image comes from the blood-stained pages of Revenge. “Now his eyes fixed on a cuticle of light peeping above the next building. It became the moon, nearly full and its flowering nimbus showed him the room and his feet on the floor.” Cuticle, it’s perfect, just perfect. Can you or some writer you know to do better?


7 Responses to the last great challenge of literary prose

  1. khalid mir says:

    but the moon cannot be captured! Hmm. Was tempted to leave you some Van Morrison but chose this instead.

    what was the challenge again? A literary reference to toenails & the moon?

    Can’t do it, Kev! More generally, Cyrano (of course!) but also this, maybe, from a wonderful short story:
    “Nobody looks at the moon in the afternoon and this is the moment when it would most require our attention since its existence is still in doubt.”

  2. I should know better than to meditate on the moon when the proprietor of Black Sun will surely rise. As for the moon in the afternoon, that’s when it’s most beautiful. Once while hiking in the Emigrant Wilderness, I watched my cuticle of light bob and weave through the treeline on a escarpment of granite and bush for several miles before it dipped below the horizon. Even then, during its siesta, I didn’t doubt its existence. But I’m foolish that way.

  3. amy says:

    That’s just all wrong, Kev 😉

  4. Jeff says:

    When the moon is in its first or third quarters, I can’t help but note that it resembles nothing so much as a pierogi. (I’ve sometimes wondered what sort of book might follow from the title Under the Pierogi Moon.)

  5. Alireza Taqhdarreh says:


    What a nice poetical attention. Thank you for sharing the joys of your wonderful journey through the world of literature with us. Like a breeze you carry the scent of another world to me — literally for I read you in a world thousands of miles away from you. I would not have been able to read you if you had published books like “poets.”

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