Suburban Antares

opposite of mars
Image crested in Stellarium

Suburban Antares

Right at the bottom of the Zodiac, he lies –
At the bottom of the garden, at the bottom of the sky –
Barely rising high enough above the privet hedges,
As he’s hugging the horizon – just a hello and goodbye.
Battling through the light-infested night (plus those long evenings),
Peeking out from skies that are perpetually grey –
From the top floor of a tower block, I bet he looks a treat,
But for us, he’s always hidden by the roofs across the way.

One Billion Bullets

aerial view clouds nasa satellite
Photo by SpaceX on Pexels.com

 

One Billion Bullets

Strange to think, how satellites would watch us from above,
Back when they flew –
Sometimes sinister, I guess, but mostly were benign enough –
And what a view !
They photographed our towns, and all the towns across the Earth
We’d never see –
They let us zoom in anywhere, from Minsk to Bogota to Perth
And all for free !
They beamed our television down, they watched the clouds and rain,
They showed us Mars –
They navigated us around, then brought us safely home again,
And shone like stars –
Before their orbitals were filled with shrapnel, deadly fast,
That took them out –
The age of satellites became the age when flying junk amassed –
It’s all about !
So now, of course, we’re trapped upon the Earth, trapped in the past
Without those eyes,
For years – until the tug of friction rains them down at last,
And clears the skies.

 

 

Forty-Eight

claudius

 

Forty-Eight

Ptolemy, he knew the skies –
At least, that much he saw of them
Of course, he only had his eyes,
And only words for drawing them.

He plotted out the vibrant stars
Upon each underlying figure,
But where ran the linking-bars
Were sketched with far less rigour.

And then there were the hinterlands,
The unincorporated flames
Between the cities – roguish bands
Too faint to ever warrant names.

He never saw the very South,
The depths beneath the Argo’s keel,
The Eridanus to its mouth,
The wings and scales which pole-wards wheel.

So later gazers filled the gaps
With modern and precision tools –
They’re lacking in some myths, perhaps,
A free-for-all where logic rules.

But Ptolemy has the last laugh,
Those empty spaces serve their turn –
For ev’ry dim and dull giraffe,
Shall help his bears to brightly burn,

And sailors through the years are wise,
From triremes to ships-of-the-line,
To just ignore the cluttered skies
And let Polaris shine.

 

 

Boötes

booties

 

Boötes

So, two ohs, and an umlaut to boot –
Or is it four ohs, of differing size ?
Who knows ?
Is the e long, or is short, or mute ?
You might as well pray to the skies !
How many syllables ?  Which one to stress ?
Your answer’s a guess –
Claims to an ancient authority, false and unwise –
That way, pedantry lies.

So is he a guard for a bear (a big bear)
As says his main star ?
Or a plough ?
The Greeks said it’s really the cart of a cow.
Well, I see a plough, or dipper, or cart,
But how in all of this heavenly art
Is that a bear ?  (And black, or white, or brown ?)
Enough !  I swear, I’ve had it with this clown !
I just want to say his noun !

If we take a telescope to the second O,
And focus in on its second moon,
The one at five-past noon –
Will it show us satellites of its own ?
And could we keep on zooming in
To find another fractal clone ?
Like double stars, like Gemini,
There’s more than meets the naked eye –
Unpronounceable, but not alone.

 

 

Hill Spheres

influence

 

Hill Spheres

The Earth could have a ring, you know –
The Moon as well.
Perhaps they have already done,
But that was then.
There would be nothing left to show
So who can tell ?
Unless, of course, they’ve yet to come,
Though who knows when ?

But then, that’s just how gravity
Is all around,
Its spheres of influence we must
Obey, or break –
Like how your eyes will grab at me
And grind me down –
Trapped about your orbit, I am dust
Within your wake.

 

 

In Stelloriam

crab nebula
A Hubble image of the Crab Nebula

 

In Stelloriam

The supernovas all are dead already,
Dead – but not yet gone.
They flare, they fade – but holding steady,
Nebulas are glinting on
To mark the spot within the eddy
Where the star had shone.

The supernovas all are dead,
But oh, they make a lovely grave !
Now some stars swell up fat and red,
But find they haven’t got the head –
While others fade away instead,
As all the light they had, they gave.

But supernovas, when they die,
They die with one almighty blast
That sings from out the daylight sky –
But even when their peak has passed,
Their nebulas still testify
They saved the best to last.

 

 

Efnniht

brown and green grass field during sunset
Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

 

Efnniht

A day or two will pass between
The Equinox and Equilux –
In Autumn, it is Night who’s keen,
While Day has lingered, still in flux:
So one’s already evened out,
While still the other lags askew.
In Spring, it’s all reversed about
As Day leads by a day or two.

 

 

‘Efnniht’ or even-night was the Old English name for the equinox.

 

 

Alienated

long exposure of photography of brown tree
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

 

Alienated

Look up.
Look up on a clear night,
And there they are –
Oases of light in the desert black,
That stretches back forever far.
And how many worlds must orbit ?,
And more each time we look,
Where congregating chemicals can cook…

They must surely be
Surrounding us on the deep and wide –
They that cannot help but hide
In all directions we can see.
We are within a ball of life
Where all we view on ev’ry side
Are living stars with planets each –
And all beyond our reach.

All this life, and nothing to show –
It’s simply far too far away,
So there they are and there they’ll stay
As epochs come and eons go.
We listen out for radio,
But static is all they play.
They must be out there, even so…
Yet all this life – and we’ll never know.

 

 

A Few Hours Spare

29

 

A Few Hours Spare

You come so soft, sweet Twenty-Ninth,
The sum of quarter-days –
You take unmissed those surplus whiles,
And solar-annual strays;
And whether you are bursting Spring
Or Winter’s final greys –
You come for free, or so it seems,
Through mathematic ways.
We owe it all to Julius,
Who’s clock the Earth obeys:
He holds in trust your orphan times,
And four years on, repays.