What is a Wolf Moon?

What is a Wolf Moon?

It’s that moon when, the moment you see it you gasp at its brightness and exclaim, ‘Wow! Look at the moon!’
It is a very bright full moon and it arrives in January. It was called Wolf Moon by native Americans because it appears at the time when the howling of the hungry wolves in the cold mid-winter was heard. The nickname was adopted by colonial settlers and added to the calendar, and so continues in use today.

The Moon’s Lover (excerpt)

The moon lies and says,
”I have been so lonely
and I wish to tell that stupid wolf to stop howling.
Will you let me do it?”

The sun replies,
”Oh my fair moon yes you can.”

The Moon’s Lover – Native American Story

Wolf Moon 2020

The first full moon of 2020 showed up on the evening of Friday the 10th January. I gasped at its brightness when I saw it on my way to the supermarket. It shone above Fortune Park (small local park en route to the supermarket) in all its magnificence.

Wolf Moon Photo + Illustration: Lesley Scoble

Wolf Moon behind a Barbican Tower

I took the photo of the Wolf Moon from our small balcony just before it slid from view behind the tower.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

This January’s moon apparently comes with a penumbral lunar eclipse (missed noticing that!). A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the moon moves through the outer fainter shadow of the Earth. I suspect you have to be an expert to notice it is an eclipse, which is observed by just a subtle dimming of the moon as it passes through the penumbra of the Earth.

Wolf Moon over London

I probably should have changed the mode on my Canon PowerShot SX740 HS to obtain a better image. The moon was too bright to capture any detail in auto mode. But, it was late and chill on the balcony. So, I went inside…lamenting that the Wolf Moon over London doesn’t come with the accompanying sound of the howling of the wolves…

Wolf Moon Poem

The wolf moon is full and bright
and comes out on a mid-winters night
High up, high,
appearing in the cold firmament
in a keen keen keening wind
on a cold mid-winter night—
dazzling frozen stars
Hungry wolves of the forest
pining, whining
on the prowl.
A Native American called Ko’ko Burrowing Owl
sits beneath its light
Wrapped warm in a blanket cowl
Smoking a pipe
Listening to the howl

Lesley Scoble 10th January 2020

Have a howling good week everyone!


  1. Hi Lesley – lovely poems … and yes the moon was clear as a bell – or as could be with the wispy clouds around … I’ve got some beautiful cards from Canada with the wolf and moon – symbols of their land. Cheers – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hilary,
      Nice to hear from you 😊 Thanks for the positive comment 🙏 Yes, it was a stunning moon! (my photos didn’t do it justice!)
      Canada is somewhere I should dearly love to travel to—
      Lesley x

      Liked by 1 person

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