What time the meanest brick and stone
Take on a beauty not their own,
And past the flaw of builded wood
Shines the intention whole and good,
And all the little homes of man
Rise to a dimmer, nobler span;
When colour’s absence gives escape
To the deeper spirit of the shape,–
Then earth’s great architecture swells
Among her mountains and her fells
Under the moon to amplitude
Massive and primitive and rude:–
Then do the clouds like silver flags
Stream out above the tattered crags,
And black and silver all the coast
Marshalls its hunched and rocky host,
And headlands striding sombrely
Buttress the land against the sea,
— The darkened land, the brightening wave —
And moonlight slants through Merlin’s cave.

   by Vita Sackville-West

The Roofs in the Moonlight by Ethiopian artist Makeda Bizuneh,(c.2013)

Mary Blood Mellen (1818-1882), Moonlight, Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts.

Silver Moonlight
John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836–1893) 1886

London by Moonlight
Paul Ayshford Methuen (1886–1974) 1940

J.M.W. Turner
Galileo’s Villa, for Rogers’s ‘Italy’

Paul Nash
The Pyramids in the Sea

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea

Julius Olsson, Moonlit Shore
exhibited 1911

Collecting Shells in Moonlight (1990) by Claudia Williams

Featured image:  Joseph Mallord William TurnerThe Full Moon over the Sea, from a Beach c.1823–6


  1. Amazed to find the poem was by Vita – until I got to the end, I was thinking Wordsworth. Hope English poetry is inspiring you in the right place at the moment.
    David Nice´s last blog post ..À la joie/To Joy/An die Freude

    • It does have that Wordsworthian “Westminster Bridge’ feel – of the beauty of the town and city revealed and transformed by the quality of the light.

      Poetry is always a pleasure – except when it’s not of course. And then it has other value! (She said wisely, gnomically and with great preponderance.)

  2. Good old Vita! And beautiful collection of paintings here, Josie! Shared your post to Facebook. — Elizabeth

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