"Private Moon" by Leonid Tishkov


Writer Chesterton once said that there couldn’t be a personal faith
as there couldn’t be a personal sun or a personal moon. In Russia
everything is the other way round: we are faced with life one to
one, and we are completely lonely in the face of the problem of
time, that is, the problem of life and death, the problem of losses
and gains, the moon, the sun, and everything in this life. We could,
conceivably, turn to someone for support. But we are still lonely…
However, that shouldn’t make us grieve or suffer. Loneliness of
this sort means that we exist, we are here, we are at the center of
the universe and we are comparable to the Moon, to the other
celestial bodies.
“Private Moon” is a visual poem telling the story of a man
who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In
the upper world, in fact in the attic of his own house, he saw the
Moon falling off from the sky. Once she was hiding from the Sun
in a dark and damp tunnel. But the passing trains frightened her.
Now she came to this man’s house. Having wrapped the Moon
with warm blankets he treated her with autumn apples, gave her
a cup of tea, and when she got well he took her in his boat across
the dark river to the high bank overgrown with moon pine-trees.
He descended into the lower world dressed in the clothes of his
deceased father and then returned from there lighting up his path
with his personal Moon. Crossing the borderline between the two
worlds across a narrow bridge, immersed in a dream and taking
care of this heavenly creature, the man became a mythological
being living in a real world as in a fairytale.
Each photograph is a poetic tale, a little poem in its own right.
Therefore each picture is accompanied by my own verse, which I
wrote when I drew my sketches for the photographs. So it turns
out that the Moon overcomes our loneliness in the universe
uniting many of us around it.

Leonid Tishkov

Like Magritte’s
Day and Night
The moon was stuck in a pine tree’s crown
a needle adhered to its radient sleeve

The sky is near.
Open the attic and you’ll see
there next to the wasp nest
rings the blinding light
of the lost moon

Open the closet
there among the old coats, the moon
hides from people

Autumn is so chilly
even the moon has caught a cold

I cross the dark river
to the high bank
where the lunar evergreens grow

I grope about in the dark
carrying the heavenly light on my back
in a swarm of sparkling bees

The Moscow Moon
in a starless sky
has sat down on the edge of a roof

I invite the moon to tea
like a lump of sugar
the damp night dissolves the moon in
an apple tree

 After everyone has gone to bed
go to the window and there
the crescent moon has appeared to you

A bundle of light is the moon
on a sleigh. The sky
worries, when will he return?
Where have they taken him?

Like a lunar unicorn
Under the covers she
shines even brighter

The funeral of the moon-every morning
Come nightfall you discover the body of the newborn moon
and help return it to the sky
leaving a mere trace in the snow
a thawing light impression

Leonid Tishkov, 2003-2005