The Moon in #JaneEyre Part Three: At Thornfield Hall II, Moor House and Ferndean

This post is the third and final one about The Moon In Jane Eyre. For a complete overview of the moon in Jane Eyre, read The Moon in Jane Eyre Part One and The Moon in Jane Eyre Part Two.

During a walk with Adele on the grounds of Thornfield Hall, we understand why the full moon is a negative omen of betrayal. Mr Rochester tells Jane about the moonlit night he surprised Adele’s mother, the French opera singer, Celine Varens, with her lover.

“It was moonlight and gaslight besides, and very still and serene. The balcony was furnished with a chair or two.”

Mr Rochester tells Jane he realised she was using him for his money, as he was paying for all her expenses, but she was unfaithful, so he left her that very night, withdrew her allowance, and challenged the young officer to a duel.

  • The first time Jane saw the door to the hidden room where Bertha was kept prisoner, in chapter XX, was a full moon.    

I had forgotten to draw my curtain, which I usually did, and also to let down my window-blind. The consequence was, that when the moon, which was full and bright (for the night was fine), came in her course to that space in the sky opposite my casement, and looked in at me through the unveiled panes, her glorious gaze roused me. Awaking in the dead of night, I opened my eyes on her disk—silver- white and crystal clear. It was beautiful, but too solemn; I half rose, and stretched my arm to draw the curtain.

And then she heard cries asking for help coming from the third storey. All the guests who were staying at Thornfield rushed out. Mr Rochester came down from the direction of the cries and sent them all to bed. Then he knocked on Jane’s door and took her upstairs to nurse Mason while he fetched the doctor.

Her visit to the tapestried room was terrifying. Behind the tapestry, which had been looped to one side she saw a hidden door and heard a snarling sound from within and Grace Poole’s voice.

Here the moon, which wakes her up and is ‘too solemn’ is warning Jane of danger ahead.

  • Jane enjoys drawing and the moon figures frequently in her illustrations. While she is at Thornfield Jane returns to Gateshead to her aunt’s, she draws some pictures including a rising moon.

Provided with a case of pencils, and some sheets of paper, I used to take a seat apart from them, near the window, and busy myself in sketching fancy vignettes, representing any scene that happened momentarily to shape itself in the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of imagination: a glimpse of sea between two rocks; the rising moon, and a ship crossing its disk; a group of reeds and water-flags, and a naiad’s head, crowned with lotus-flowers, rising out of them; an elf sitting in a hedge-sparrow’s nest, under a wreath of hawthorn- bloom.

The rising moon, and a ship crossing its disk, would suggest that Jane foresees a journey, or at least a change in her life. At this point, Jane has acknowledged that he is in love with Mr Rochester, but she believes he will marry Blanche, so she has resolved to leave Thornfield. She trusts the moon to guide her along to her new destination.

  • Shortly after her return to Thornfield Hall, Mr Rochester proposes to Jane on a full moon evening.

Jane went out to the garden as night fell. On seeing Mr Rochester, she tried to slip away, but he asked her to stay and watch the moonrise.

‘Turn back: on so lovely a night it is a shame to sit in the house; and surely no one can wish to go to bed while sunset is thus at meeting with moonrise.’

At first, he teases her by telling her she must go to Ireland, because he will marry Blanche. When Jane rises to leave, he proposes. She thinks he is lying and insists on looking at his face in the moonlight.

‘Mr. Rochester, let me look at your face: turn to the moonlight.’

Why?’

‘Because I want to read your countenance—turn!’

The light of the moon allows Jane to see that his offer is sincere, si she accepts. They stay in the garden, talking all night until the moon was almost set, and she could no longer see his face.

  • The day after she has accepted his proposal, Adele, Jane, and Rochester go shopping to Millcote. In the carriage Rochester tells Adele he will take Jane to the moon where they will live in a cave and eat manna, which grows there plentifully.

I am to take mademoiselle to the moon, and there I shall seek a cave in one of the white valleys among the volcano-tops, and mademoiselle shall live with me there, and only me.’

‘She will have nothing to eat: you will starve her,’ observed Adele.

‘I shall gather manna for her morning and night: the plains and hillsides in the moon are bleached with manna, Adele.’

‘She will want to warm herself: what will she do for a fire?’

‘Fire rises out of the lunar mountains: when she is cold, I’ll carry her up to a peak, and lay her down on the edge of a crater.’

I suggest Mr Rochester is using moon symbolism and metaphor to describe the sexual relationship he hopes to have with Jane, but his dream-like description of their honeymoon is open to diverse interpretations.

  • One full moon night, a month after the proposal while Mr. Rochester was absent from home on business, Jane experienced a disturbing event.   

She woke thinking it was daylight, but when she opened her eyes, there was candlelight on the dressing-table. Jane supposed Sophie had come in, but the closet door, where her wedding dress and veil were hanging, was open, and she heard a rustling noise. She thought it was Sophie, but and a form she had never seen before emerged from the closet. She describes a monster; a tall, corpulent woman with thick, dark hair hanging long down her back, wearing a white dress.  She had bloodshot eyes with black eyebrows, purple skin and swollen dark lips. She took Jane’s veil tore it in two, threw it on the floor and trampled on it.

Then she stood by her bedside, glared at her, thrust up her candle close to her face, and extinguished it under her eyes. Jane was terrified and lost consciousness.

Mr Rochester was gone and she was terrified of staying inside the house that night without him, so she went out in the moonlit night in search of him. As before, Jane looks to the moon to guide her to a better place.

The following day, after their interrupted wedding, Mr Rochester has asked her to stay with him despite being married and suggested they live as husband and wife in his house in France. Jane of course refuses, she is too clever to become another woman abandoned by Rochester when he tires of her. Jane is in a desperate quandary. She doesn’t want to leave Mr Rochester, but neither can she stay and be his mistress.

That night, while she’s in her room sleeping, she dreams of a moon in the sky which becomes a white human form, her mother who gazes at her and says, ‘My daughter, flee temptation.’

Jane replies, ‘Mother, I will,’ and leaves Thornfield Hall that very night.

The moon, personified advises her on what she should do. In this instance, the moon takes the human form of her mother and tells Jane to leave in order to avoid temptation.

We cannot be sure if Jane is referring to her biological mother or Mary, the mother of God, her spiritual mother, or perhaps both. As the symbolism of the Virgin Mary is a major part of catholic doctrine and Jane is an Anglican, I would be inclined to assume that she is referring to her own mother. This is the only time Jane actively thinks about or refers to her mother in the novel.

At Moor House in Morton, the night before her cousin St John left for India, Jane, who had already turned down his proposal, has an auditory extrasensory experience.

In the evening while St John, Mary, Diana, and Jane are reading before prayers, the May moon is shining brightly through the uncurtained window, rendering almost unnecessary the light of the candle on the table.

It was later that full moon night when one of the most dramatic scenes in the novel takes place. 

‘The room was full of moonlight. My heart beat fast and thick: I heard its throb. Suddenly it stood still to an inexpressible feeling that thrilled it through,  and passed at once to my head and extremities. The feeling was not like an electric shock, but it was quite as sharp, as strange, as startling: it acted on my senses as if their utmost activity hitherto had been but torpor, from which they were now summoned and forced to wake. They rose expectant: eye and ear waited while the flesh quivered on my bones.

Jane heard Mr Rochester’s voice cry out her name three times. 

‘I am coming!’ she cried. ‘Wait for me! Oh, I will come!’ and the following day she returned to Thornfield Hall.

  • Days later, when she finds him in Ferndean Mr Rochester tells her that a few nights earlier, while he was watching the full moon, he called her name three times in desperation.

‘Did you speak these words aloud?’

‘I did, Jane. If any listener had heard me, he would have thought me mad: I pronounced them with such frantic energy.’

He also tells her he heard her reply.

‘As I exclaimed ‘Jane! Jane! Jane!’ a voice—I cannot tell whence the voice came, but I know whose voice it was—replied, ‘I am coming: wait for me.’

Rochester states that, ‘In spirit, I believe we must have met…perhaps your soul wandered from its cell to comfort mine.’

So here at the end of the novel, the moon becomes a positive omen for both, carrying their voices and feelings across space, simultaneously. From then on, they will both remember the night of the full moon they contacted each other supernaturally, and as a result they were reunited. The moon’s final appearance in the novel is the central element to the grand finale. Jane and Rochester’s love is like the tide, controlled by the moon, who pulls them together in the novel’s final happy ever after.

If you enjoyed my posts on The Moon in Jane Eyre, be sure to read all my other posts on Jane Eyre here.

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#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘5 Steps to Writing a Poem’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Poetry #ThursdayMotivation

Today’s just one of those days…

The Moon's hiding
In night's black cave,
The darkest hour,
Seconds before 
You surrender,
The moment when
Hope has devoured
Your weary dreams,
Open your eyes,
Look up to sky,
The cloud has passed,
The moon is always there,
However dark the night.
@LucciaGray

Being almost 62, I’ve had a few dark days and the advantages of having so much experience is that I have some strategies to overcome some of those bleak moments we all have, now and again, sometimes for a reason, but often for none at all.

Here’s what I do. I have my WAM, or water and music therapy, described in this post, where I remind myself that I’m invincible. Other times I give in to my melancholy and write a poem. I love writing poems, and it comes fairly easily, but a proper poem to show the world takes at least two hours, plus sometimes I just leave it to rest in my mind and come back later or another day to revise or finish.

5 Steps to writing a poem when you’re feeling blue.

This is what works for me. You need pen and paper or your journal, that’s it. Optional: music, favourite poems, films etc.

First I just freewrite, stream-of-consciousness style. I get it all off my chest, but I put a time and length limit (I don’t want to (over)wallow in my misery), of about ten minutes or one page in my notebook or sheet of paper. This is really helpful, because it helps me understand how I’m feeling. That in itself will make you feel much better, but let’s continue.

Secondly, I look at the words and expressions I’ve used. In this case I had darkest hour, dark night, no hope, pitch black, dark cave, loss, sentences such as ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’ came to mind, etc. . On another, clean page, write the main words or short phrases, taken from what you’ve written, each on a separate line. At this point You can think of song lyrics and poems or even film or book titles that align with your feelings and add the lines or words, or any other words and short phrases which come to mind.

Thirdly. Congratulations, your poem is there, but now you have to give your words a rhythm. I like to work with syllables, which is why I love haikus 5-7-5 or tankas 5-7-5-7-7. It’s simple, and it works. Order your words into the syllables and lines. You should be able to come up with a few short poems. You don’t need to use all the words, you wrote, just a few to highlight your feelings, and you can add synonyms for rhyming purposes.

Fourthly, Great! We’re nearly there. I play around with syllables and sounds, this time I’m paying closer attention to the meaning or feelings I wish to transmit. Here I often change the syllables and rhythm to suit my words and feelings. Today’s poem above is not a haiku or tanka, it’s mostly four syllable lines, except the last two which have six syllables.

This is how my poem started off this morning,

Finally, because fifthly sounds funny, you need a new sheet of paper and write out your rough version or versions, you may have more than one. You add the final touches and if you’re happy, type it out and show it to the world, and if it doesn’t sound quite right and your inspiration is in tatters, put it in a drawer and come back later to finish.

Whatever you’ve written, I bet you feel better already. I always do! And, of course, I don’t publish them all. Some never get properly polished, they’re just for me and my journal.

Do you write poems when you’re feeling blue?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#WordlessWednesday & #OneLinerWednesday: The Sun & The Moon in Conversation

More scenes from the beach, while I’m on holiday. Last night and this morning; the same yet different…

One-Liner Wednesday – Forgetfulness

When the sun forgot to shine on the moon she wept, but as he remembered she danced on the waves and grew in the sky.

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****

The glorious summer sun said to the full moon, “You’re so magnificent; I couldn’t live without you, my love.”

“You flatter me, ” replied the moon. “You’re always grand and glowing. I grow smaller and disappear, while you’re always vibrant and loyal. It’s me who can’t live without your light and strength.”

“But my darling, what would I be without my reflexion on your lovely face?”

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Both sides of the coin:

Sun and moon, night and day, happiness and sorrow, loss and abundance, laughter and tears,  good and evil, fire and water, fear and ignorance, love and hate, madness and genius, pleasure and pain, body and soul, life and death…

Can we experience one without knowing the other?

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The Moon in Jane Eyre Part Two: At Thornfield Hall I

The Moon in Jane’s Arrival At Thornfield Hall and First Encounters with Mr. Rochester.

This post is a continuation of a previous post on The Moon in Jane Eyre Part One: At Gateshead and Lowood which has been a very popular with readers interested in Jane Eyre. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

The moon makes many symbolic and significant appearances at Thornfield Hall, so this post will also come in two parts. This first part refers to Jane’s arrival at Thornfield hall and her first encounters with Mr. Rochester. The rest of her stay at Thornfield Hall will be covered in The Moon in Jane Eyre Part Three.

The Third Storey and The Attic at Thornfield Hall 

The moon makes its first appearance the day after Jane’s arrival at Thornfield Hall. In the evening, once her first class with Adele was over, Mrs. Fairfax offered to show her around the house. The tour ended in the mysterious and uncanny third storey, which was devoid of the moonlight:

All these relics gave to the third storey of Thornfield Hall the aspect of a home of the past: a shrine of memory. I liked the hush, the gloom, the quaintness of these retreats in the day; but I by no means coveted a night’s repose on one of those wide and heavy beds: shut in, some of them, with doors of oak; shaded, others, with wrought old English hangings crusted with thick work, portraying effigies of strange flowers, and
stranger birds, and strangest human beings,— all which would have looked strange, indeed, by the pallid gleam of moonlight. If there were a ghost at Thornfield Hall, this would be its haunt.’
‘So I think: you have no ghost, then?’
‘None that I ever heard of,’ returned Mrs. Fairfax, smiling.
‘Nor any traditions of one? no legends or ghost stories?’
‘I believe not.”

Jane and Mrs. Fairfax continue their tour to the attic, which Jane describes as black as a vault. They walk up a very narrow staircase and then with the help of a ladder through a trap-door to the roof of the hall and a view of the surrounding countryside, which Bertha is denied.

Bertha’s room was described as ‘windowless’ and the rest of the upper floor was dark and gloomy, probably due to small windows and heavy curtains. The moon, which has been a positive omen in Jane’s life, lighting her way in dark moments, and announcing the appearance of positive characters, is denied to Bertha who must live concealed in absolute darkness.

Notice also the lies Mrs. Fairfax tells Jane when she claims there are no legends of ghosts, yet all the servants are aware of Grace Poole’s secret charge in the attic and the strange noises, which they all hear on occasions.

The lack of moon in this instance indicates a moral as well as physical darkness, as it encloses falsehood, as well as captivity and concealment.

Illustration from Life and Works of the Sisters Brontë (1899).

Mr. Rochester’s Arrival

Jane arrived at Thornfield Hall in October. The following months passed by tranquilly, as Jane taught Adele, Mr. Rochester’s ‘ward’. One afternoon in January, Jane volunteered to take a letter to Hay, which was two miles away, for Mrs. Fairfax, because she thought it would be a pleasant winter afternoon walk. On her way, she sat on a style and observed Thornfield, and the surrounding countryside as she watched the rising moon. Jane tells us:

I lingered till the sun went down amongst the trees, and sank crimson and clear behind them. I then turned eastward. On the hill-top above me sat the rising moon; pale yet as a cloud, but brightening momentarily, she looked over Hay, which, half lost in trees, sent up a blue smoke from its few chimneys: it was yet a mile distant, but in the absolute hush I could hear plainly its thin murmurs of life.

The rising moon is heralding a singular event. A few minutes later, Mr. Rochester fell off his horse on the causeway. She describes their first meeting thus:

‘If you are hurt, and want help, sir, I can fetch someone either from Thornfield Hall or from Hay.’
‘Thank you: I shall do: I have no broken bones,—only a sprain;’ and again he stood up and tried his foot, but the result extorted an involuntary ‘Ugh!’
Something of daylight still lingered, and the moon was waxing bright: I could see him plainly. His figure was enveloped in a riding cloak, fur collared and steel clasped; its details were not apparent, but I traced the general points of middle height and considerable breadth of chest.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phases_of_the_Moon.png

The moon is not yet full, but it is ‘waxing’ or in the first quarter growing into a full moon, indicating the initial moments of a great event. After describing him in great detail, he asks her what she was doing on the causeway. There follows an important quote regarding the moon. Jane herself admits it is a positive omen, which assists her as she walks at night, and metaphorically through her own, uncertain life. It is also significant that the mood is shining directly on Thornfield Hall, signaling it out as a safe place for her.

He looked at me when I said this; he had hardly turned his eyes in my direction before.
‘I should think you ought to be at home yourself,’ said he, ‘if you have a home in this neighbourhood: where do you come from?’
‘From just below; and I am not at all afraid of being out late when it is moonlight: I will run over to Hay for you with pleasure, if you wish it: indeed, I am going there to post a letter.’
‘You live just below—do you mean at that house with the battlements?’ pointing to Thornfield Hall, on which the moon cast a hoary gleam, bringing it out distinct and pale from the woods that, by contrast with the western sky, now seemed one mass of shadow.
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Whose house is it?’
‘Mr. Rochester’s.’
‘Do you know Mr. Rochester?’
‘No, I have never seen him.’
‘He is not resident, then?’
‘No.’
‘Can you tell me where he is?’
‘I cannot.’

Rochester horse

Jane herself describes the moon as an element of security. It is her home, the place where she feels safe, which, at the moment, is Thornfield Hall. The moon lights her path, showing her the way to her errand and back home. It has also enabled her to scrutinise Mr. Rochester carefully, pointing out to her a person who will have a great influence on her life. We saw in part one, that Miss Temple was introduced to Jane in a similar way.

On her way back from posting the letter, she lingers at the gates of Thornfield Hall before entering. She watches the moon and the stars in awe, aware that something of great importance has occurred, although she is not yet able to fathom what has happened.

I lingered at the gates; I lingered on the lawn; I paced backwards and forwards on the pavement; the shutters of the glass door were closed; I could not see into the interior; and both my eyes and spirit seemed drawn from the gloomy house—from the grey-hollow filled with rayless cells, as it appeared to me—to that sky expanded before me,—a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud; the moon ascending it in solemn march; her orb seeming to look up as she left the hill-tops, from behind which she had come, far and farther below her, and aspired to the zenith, midnight dark in its fathomless depth and measureless distance; and for those trembling stars that followed her course; they made my heart tremble, my veins glow when I viewed them.
Little things recall us to earth; the clock struck in the hall; that sufficed; I turned from moon and stars, opened a side-door, and went in.

She soon realizes that the man she met was her employer. The following day, Mrs. Fairfax informs her that Mr. Rochester requires her presence for tea in the drawing-room. Mr. Rochester makes the usual inquiries an employer might make about her family, past life, and how she came to work at his house.

The conversation then takes a strange turn and he accuses her of being a witch and using magic, with the help of her ‘people’ and the moonlight, to throw him off his horse in their first meeting the previous day. She tells him jokingly there are no such beings in England any more.

‘I thought not. And so you were waiting for your people when you sat on that stile?’
‘For whom, sir?’
‘For the men in green: it was a proper moonlight evening for them. Did I break through one of your rings, that you spread that damned ice on the causeway?’
I shook my head. ‘The men in green all forsook England a hundred years ago,’ said I, speaking as seriously as he had done. ‘And not even in Hay Lane, or the fields about it, could you find a trace of them. I don’t think either summer or harvest, or winter moon, will ever shine on their revels more.’

He also asks her to play the piano and show him her drawings, and comments on one of them in particular:

These eyes in the Evening Star you must have seen in a dream. How could you make them look so clear, and yet not at all brilliant? for the planet above quells their rays. And what meaning is that in their solemn depth? And who taught you to paint wind. There is a high gale in that sky, and on this hill-top. Where did you see Latmos? For that is Latmos. There! put the drawings away!’

The second painting he examines belongs to a Greek legend. It portrays the evening star and a hill with a woman’s bust rising into the sky, which he immediately identifies as Selena was a goddess of Greek mythology associated with the moon and even regarded as the personification of the moon. He asks Jane, “Where did you see Latmos? For that is Latmos.”

Selena is commonly depicted with a crescent moon, as in this picture, often accompanied by stars; or a lunar disc.

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The Moon-goddess Selene or Luna accompanied by the Dioscuri, or Phosphoros (the Morning Star) and Hesperos (the Evening Star). Marble altar, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. From Italy.

In Greek legend Latmos, or more correctly Mt Latmos, is where the goddess Selene first saw and fell in love with Endymion, vowing to protect him for ever. He tells her to leave him, as soon as he realizes that he has associated her with the goddess. It is interesting that Jane, herself, does not make this association. It is his own fear of the emotions she has stirred in him that makes him practically throw the three women out of the room.

It is interesting to notice how Mr. Rochester has a contrasting view of the moon to Jane’s. He fears the moon and considers it a negative omen. Mr. Rochester associates the moon with female love or lust, which he fears, and witchcraft, which he also associates with love spells. The reader is aware that he is a tormented man, and that this torment is due to unfavourable experiences with women. We have no proof yet, but it seems he does not want to fall prey to another woman brought to him by the moon. He probably also associates the moon with his wife’s lunacy, but of course, at this point, the reader is not yet aware of any of these events.

In part three we will learn more about why Mr. Rochester considers the moon as a negative omen.

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Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 11: The Stalker

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;

Walter de la Mare (1873 – 1958 England)

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Dark Side of the Moon, by NASA, Apollo 16. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The moon has fascinated both poets and scientists since the first human spotted it in the sky.We do not know for sure how the earth and the moon came into being, but there are two main theories proposed by the scientific community.

 

The first theory, called the ‘giant impact hypothesis’, which was developed by the Planetary Science Institute in the 1970s, claims that the Earth’s moon formed as the result of a colossal impact of a hypothetical planetary embryo, named Theia, with Earth, early in our Solar System’s history. More information on this theory.

 

The most recent theory, funded by the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), and published in 2012, proposes that the Earth and moon were both created together in a giant collision of two similar-sized bodies, which collided a second time forming an early Earth surrounded by a disk of material that combined to form the moon. More information on this theory.

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An artist’s concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In any case, both poets and scientists have acknowledge the intimate relationship between the Earth and our Moon, and are searching for ways of either explaining our fascination, or providing proof of our common origin and mutual dependency.

 

For last Friday’s Flash! Fiction contest, our prompts were the word moon and the following sculpture.

liverpool-a-case-history

Liverpool — Hope Street. CC photo by Harshil Shah. Sculpture “A Case History” by John King.

The idea instantly came to my mind to combine the poetic symbolism of the moon and the scientific notion that both planets had a common origin.

In my flash fiction, the moon has become the lover who has been traumatically separated from his beloved. He cannot come close to her, but he can stalk her from a distance, because he still loves her and misses her, while he is patiently waiting for a longed for reunion.

 

The stalker

 

Let me watch over you.
I see you searching for my torch in the night, in wonder, in awe, perhaps even in fear.
Please don’t fear me. I’d never harm you.
You know I’ll always be there, faithful to you alone.
I can’t live with you, but neither can I live without you, so I have to stalk you.
You have understood and forgiven me.
I look forward to seeing your flashing eyes and hearing the murmur of your breathing.
Your beauty is stunning. I admire your patchwork dress and your flowing waves.
I love you.
I miss you.
I wish I were still with you, still part of you, as I used to be, as I was meant to be.
I cannot come to you yet, although you have visited me, on occasions.
You think little of me, because you consider me ugly and barren, and I am, compared to you.
But remember this; we were together once and you loved me, until we were torn apart.
I long for the day you will take up your suitcases, renew your hope in me, and bring life to my lonely planet.
You will come and I will be waiting, Earthlings.

@LucciaGray
200 words.
Would you like to read some of the other stories in this weeks’ Flash! Friday challenge?