The Moon and the Pond

The Moon and the Pond, Dylan Thomas, Acrylic on canvas, 2011, 60.96 cm x 60.96 cm

Read the poem in Dylan’s artist statement after the initial class discussion.

“This design was inspired by the Zen poet Takuan:

The moon has no intent to cast its shadow anywhere,
nor does the pond design to lodge the moon.
How serene the water of Hirosawa!

This poem points to a lesson of acceptance. The moon does not reject the pond nor does the pond reject the moon. They both simply are – with no intention or will from either of them, they create a profoundly beautiful scene.

Human beings have a problem with acceptance. We suffer when we want what we cannot have or have what we do not want. We tend to reject “ugly” things like death, when it is as natural as the “beauty” of birth. When we learn to live as the moon and pond do, and reject nothing, we will live far happier lives.”

– Dylan Thomas

What does this poem mean?

Why would the artist choose an ancient poem from a distant culture?

What part of the image is the moon and what part is the pond?

Can you find anything in the pond? Reflections? Ripples? Pebbles? Frogs?

Tessellation is a pattern that is made of identical shapes that fit together without any gaps and do not overlap. It is common in nature and in geometry! Is there a pattern that repeats itself here?