The In-Between Time


The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:
The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.
The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.
My brother, good morning: my sister, good night.
– Hilaire Belloc


Comments always are welcome.
For more information on Hilaire Belloc, please click here.

47 thoughts on “The In-Between Time

  1. I wondered how someone with as French a name as Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc came to write the rhyming English quatrain you quoted. Turns out that although Belloc was born in France his mother was English and he grew up in England.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: “In 1890, Belloc met Elodie Hogan, an American living in Northern California…. Belloc travelled to the United States to visit Hogan. An athletic man who walked extensively in Britain and Europe, Belloc walked a significant part of the distance from the American Midwest to Hogan’s home in California. While walking, he paid for lodging at remote farm houses and ranches by sketching the owners and reciting poetry.”

    1. What a wonderful story. The walking is impressive, but exchanging art and poetry for lodging does have a distinctly old-fashioned feel. I wonder if he could do that today? I’ll bet so, in some parts of the country: but probably not all. Growing up in England, he no doubt knew of the habit of so many English poets, like Blake and Wordsworth, to prowl the countryside; perhaps it influenced him.

      I did a little prowling myself, and discovered that Belloc’s The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts still is being reprinted. It’s hilarious; there’s a Project Gutenberg edition online that includes the drawings.

    1. Thanks, Misti. The sky’s a never-ending wonder, although it was a little smoky over in the Big Thicket today. What was originally called the Polk fire broke out just about due west of the Sundew Trail — sort of closer to Dallardsville. There are some photos here. The good news is that it seems to have been fully contained, although when I looked at the map tonight it seems there was a one-acre fire that started nearby (also contained). I surely do hope the predictions for a few days of rain are on target.

    2. Here’s the final update on the (renamed) fire: “Final Update: the #CampSealeFire in Polk County is 251 acres and 100% contained. All state resources have been released and the fire has transitioned back to the local unit. #txfire

    1. There’s a delicacy to both the words and the image that’s quite pleasing. I suspect the poetic lines are Belloc’s tribute to St. Francis: or, at least, influenced by his knowledge of Francis’s beliefs.

    1. One of the things I enjoy about dawn and dusk is that there’s no way to say “now it is day, and now it is night.” The changes aren’t like flipping a light switch; there’s nothing to do but wait, watch, and enjoy.

    1. I was intrigued to see the colors of the Belt of Venus — blue and pink — without the Belt being visible. I do love a full moon, but I must say, this crescent was compelling. A little creative cropping helped, too, by adding that strong diagonal.

    1. It’s dawn-ish. Our prettiest pastel skies almost always come in the early morning, in the west. Sunsets tend to be more boldly colored, unless there’s a tropical system around, and then we can get combinations like steel gray and lemon yellow. Blue skies make great backgrounds for sunflowers and such, but the colored skies tend to be more interesting — and this colored contrail certainly was different.

    1. As you can imagine, I had a hard time not using “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” as a title. I finally decided snagging a film title wasn’t the best idea — and I ended up liking “the in-between time” just as well.

    1. I didn’t intend to capture that kind of texture. It was just that the contrail and moon were there, and the color was fabulous, and what if I had to run, grab the camera, and shoot before the contrail spread and dissipated? I was happy with the result, and it certainly suits Belloc’s verse.

  2. A perfect title for that wonderful photograph!
    That in-between time, while we wait for night to become day, we often are treated to wondrous sky sights.

    From the first three comments to this post, I reckon we could refer to the poet’s offering as a quirky, quarky quatrain.

    1. One of my favorite words is ‘madrugada’ — Spanish for the hours before dawn. I’ve always thought of it as the period between astronomical twilight and nautical twilight, even though images like this usually depend on actual twilight. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve always thought my mockingbirds begin singing between 4 and 5 a.m. because they’re more attuned to astronomical twilight than we are.

      One of the best things about Belloc’s quirky, quarky quatrain is that it comes without any snark.

      1. I love how ‘madrugada’ rolls off the tongue.

        Since we’re sharing favorite words, one of mine which describes activity around dawn and dusk is ‘crepuscular’.

  3. Oh, that pink, that wonderful pink!

    I have a widget (remember those?) on my old computer that’s called “The Werewolf Monitor” — it shows a graphic of the phase of the moon at the current time. I haven’t been able to find a similar app for Windows II, and that makes me sad to have to leave that little desktop moon behind.

    1. That pink is luscious, isn’t it? Some pinks are just too saccharine-sweet for me, but this one’s perfect.

      I went poking about and found this, which seems to be compatible with Win11. Since it says it’s ‘revived,’ it might be akin to the old one you liked so much.

    1. It does have the simplicity of many flags, doesn’t it? It’s fun to imagine a country that would choose a pastel flag, rather than the bold colors usually displayed.

    1. What a sweet thing to say! Many of my favorite poets do seem like old friends, and who doesn’t like introducing one friend to another? I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ll bet you have some mornings — or evenings — at the lake when it would be just as suitable.

    1. All things considered, a little contemplative calm can do us all some good. When I came across this poem, it brought a smile and a feeling of contentment; having a photo in the archives with the same simplicity as the words was wonderful.

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