The last stanza of Sarojini Naidu's "Dirge" contains these lines:

The yearning pain of unfulfilled delight,
The moonless vigils of her lonely night,
For the abysmal anguish of her tears,
And flowering springs that mock her empty years?

What are the "moonless vigils of her lonely night"? I could understand "vigils of lonely night", since the subject of the poem is a new widow, but why "moonless"? Where has the moon gone?

1 Answer 1


You cannot always see the moon in the night sky.

A New Moon rises above the eastern horizon at sunrise with the sun. On this day the Moon then travels across the daytime sky with the sun. A New Moon is in the daytime sky but we cannot see it from Earth.

On the day of a New Moon, the Moon is located between the Earth and the Sun. A person on Earth cannot see a New Moon because the side of the Moon that is facing Earth is not being illuminated by the Sun. https://museumsvictoria.com.au/learning/little-science/teacher-support-materials/phases-of-the-moon/

The time period between New Moons is about 29.5 days, a synodic month.


My reading is that the darkest, moonless nights are not only the hardest, with no moon to track across the sky or moon shadows bringing light they seem longer and more doleful, but coming at regular times they are a tally of mourning, marking off the passing months. Just as the passing of each spring marks a further year. Apparently, in the Hindu lunar calendar, each month begins and ends on a new moon day.

Like the season of Spring, New Moons can be symbolic of new life and new beginnings

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