THE LIGHT of the moon is always seen as a symbol of loneliness against the dark, star-less sky. In her first book, Fragments of the Moon, Communication Arts alumna Nadia C. Camit gathers the pieces of her own loneliness and longing in her short poems.

Camit’s 20 poems are divided into six parts following the phases of the moon: “New Moon,” “Waxing Crescent,” “First Quarter,” “Full Moon,” “Waning Gibbous,” and “Last Quarter.” Like these phases, her poems complete a cycle of loneliness. It begins with the poem “Before Latte,” where the persona seeks “warmth/ from the chairs surrounding me—/ empty”; then with the gradual forming of a quarter, where the moon finally sheds some light into the night, as seen in the poem “Fountain Reflections,” “…a pair of/ Night seashells/ Shall never drown/ From the rapture/ Of the dark”; eventually forming into a solid, full circle of light, a brief period of having contact with some company, such as the lines in “Evening Serenade,” where eyes “searched—/touching his hands/ like a pair of crystals,/ eyelashes/ brushing the streets of his palms”; and finally anticipating the impending darkness by the turn of the last quarter with the last two memorable lines of “Reincarnation,” the last poem in the collection—”Love is the death/ of a thousand beginnings.”

In her introduction, Camit recounts how this long-time affair with sadness, desire, and memory began, describing how she wrote her first poem at age four. Through the sorrow that she felt in losing her pet turtle, she came face to face with the full moon, which comforted her. From then on, it became her inspiration in writing and a witness to her joys, triumphs, sorrows and loneliness.

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Loneliness is very much evident when it starts to manifest desire, as it appears as the recurrent theme in Camit’s poems. This is best illustrated in the poet’s two poems for her father, “Sunset Anticipation” and “Libertad.” Both poems describe precious moments that the poet spent with her father, except that “Sunset Anticipation” shows her sad loss and, pointing to the direction of moving on through the new sunsets that she will witness in the future, while “Libertad” seeks deliverance from the memory of how she “would hold his hand/ and clasp a kindness that would outweigh/ our heavy load.”

There are times when the longing for love is satisfied, such as the encounter of the persona and a loved one in “Fort Santiago,” where the remnants of the past become witness to the love unfolding within its aged walls. The love that takes shape after a long period of desiring is wonderful and even indefinable, as expressed in “Lamppost”: “Not even/ This precious light/ Can define/ This madness/ Of/ Shadows.”

When desire does not materialize into a solid, tangible form, it succumbs to dreams and memory, the way the persona in “Mermaid” dives into “…memories/ For her heart/ Has been tied/ To the rocks.” The dream, however, only strengthens the degree of longing as the persona wakes up “With gills open,/ Gasping for her.”

But even in desire, Camit shows that acceptance cures the heart of its impatience, as expressed in “Flight,” where the persona accepts the parting of a loved one but promises to wait for its return.

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These poems of desire, love, loneliness and memory attest to the frailty of human existence in its struggle to adapt to the non-permanence of this world. And yet, this frailty does not break even when it is stretched taut, but proves resiliency as it relaxes gradually into something more bearable. And what makes the fears bearable is the courage to give it form through words, where desires deepen and the determination to seek it grows stronger. Fragments of the Moon shows all this, as Camit continues to command her thoughts to take shape in the lines that bear witness to a life lived between memory and desire.

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