Home Page


Blue moon over Kilkenny

November 2001 —

A "Blue moon" is an occasion of no organic significance, generated by the correspondence between lunar Earth-orbit and a modern calendar.

It is, technically, the second full moon in a month.

The average lunar orbit is 29.5 days. The full moon, or any given lunar phase, will occasionally happen twice within the arbitrary period of the modern non-February calendar month.

The non-phenomenon occurs about 7 times every 19 years — "once in a blue moon."

Kilkenny is a small town in southeast Ireland, officially a city, and the seat of the county by the same name.

Two folks, new friends of mine in Kilkenny Ireland, were shooting pool at Syd's pub.

It was a "blue moon," the second full moon in the month.

Syd's pool room is a small, mildly lighted space up a few steps beyond the toilets and cigarette machine at the back of the establishment.

Mick and Molly, both of whom play brilliant pool, were near the end of a game — in fact it was the endgame; down to the black. Molly was shooting at the black. She missed.

Rare enough. In a fairly straighforward shot, she just missed the black, by the finest whisper. It was minutely close, but it did not hit — that much was sure, from where I stood. Two shots to Mick — a significant development in the game. The trouble was that Molly didn't see it that way — couldn't or wouldn't.

But I'd seen it, with my eyes, and had no reason to believe one way or the other. I saw the miss — no movement of the black, as plain as could be. So I called it like that.

Faced with dispute, I stuck with it, too. I didn't argue, but I insisted. The black had gone untouched.

Molly stormed out. She left. Gone, argument finished.

Later, Mick and I crossed Rose Inn Street for a cup of tea. Outside, that full moon shone on clouds in two layers, bulbous higher cumuluous and a radiant sheen of lower, thin whispy sheets — moving on two different wind headings.

Mick and I talked about what had happened, but we did not figure it out.