"And The Moon And The Stars And The World" is a poem written by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski was a famous American poet who achieved publication at the young age of 20. This particular poem was published in the book Mockingbird Wish Me Luck in 1972.
"And The Moon And The Stars And The World" is a very short single-stanza poem composed of only six lines. The lines are quite short as well. The poem is written in free verse and there is no rhyme scheme.
Long walks at night—
This is a very simple first line. If the reader takes the time to look further into the line, there is much that can be thought of. While many people are settling in or sleeping at night, the speaker (henceforth referred to with male pronouns) promotes taking a long walk. This also evokes a sense of loneliness. Picturing someone, or even yourself, walking slowly for a long period of time on an empty street at night is quite stunning. This would leave plenty of time to think and contemplate the surroundings.
that’s what good for the soul:
The speaker goes on to claim it is a healthy thing for a person’s soul to take these walks. Perhaps he believes it is essential to take some time for one to truly ponder and reflect. It is also important to note the use of a colon at the end of this line. This indicates the speaker will inform the reader how or why the extended nighttime walks are "good for the soul."
peeking into windows
In the previous line, the word "soul" was used. It is a common expression and belief that the "eyes are the window to the soul." In this case, the speaker is looking through a window of another person’s home. This is uninvited behavior, hinting at a breach of privacy. This means the speaker will likely catch a glimpse of something not meant to be seen. This is similar to someone reading another person through their eyes or someone’s expression betraying their true feelings.
watching tired housewives
Of all things the speaker could have seen when peeking through a window, the reader is told of a tired housewife. One suggestion made by this description is that a homemaker has a strenuous job. It is their sole responsibility to take care of a home and those who live in it. This is definitely a major responsibility and no easy task. Another suggestion is the use of the word "tired" to connote weariness. Perhaps the housewives are tired or bored with their lives or how they are treated. The speaker, however, can only watch and draw conclusions. He is on the other side of the window. This is not his life, he is merely taking a peek into the life of another.
trying to fight off
their beer-maddened husbands.
The poem ends abruptly on a despondent note. The "tired housewife" is fighting off her drunk husband. This is not a jovial or celebratory drunk in good fun; this is a deranged type of drunk. This gives the reader an idea of why the housewives are weary as well. What the speaker saw inside the house was private, meaning there is a possibility nobody outside the marriage knows the housewife is tired and the husband is a raging drunk. It is likely nobody knows she has to fight him off.
Though the poem is short, there is much to think about when reading and analyzing it. The speaker, taking a nighttime stroll, is sneaking a look into the private life of another. This may leave the reader wondering why he considers this to be "good for the soul." Perhaps the speaker believes in the importance of observing and understanding the world around you. In contemplating your own life and keenly observing the world around you, the soul can be nurtured and a person can grow. This can be one message the reader gets from the short but effective poem. Another message can be that one should not take things at face value; there is usually something more to a person or a situation we have no way of knowing.
The theme of this poem is contemplation. Through observation and careful thought, one can learn a lot from others. One can learn a lot from the world as well. Finally, a person’s soul can be nurtured through contemplation. It is of the essence to take time for one to think and reflect in order to grow.