Tag Archives: stars

The Stars.

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun
Restored our Earth to joy,
Have you departed, every one,
And left a desert sky?

All through the night, your glorious eyes
Were gazing down in mine,
And, with a full heart’s thankful sighs,
I blessed that watch divine.

I was at peace, and drank your beams
As they were life to me;
And revelled in my changeful dreams,
Like petrel on the sea.

Thought followed thought, star followed star,
Through boundless regions, on;
While one sweet influence, near and far,
Thrilled through and proved us one!

Why did the morning dawn to break
So great, so pure, a spell;
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,
Where your cool radiance fell?

Blood-red, he rose, and arrow-straight,
His fierce beams struck my brow;
The soul of nature sprang, elate,
But mine sank sad and low!

My lids closed down, yet through their veil
I saw him, blazing still,
And steep in gold the misty dale,
And flash upon the hill.

I turned me to the pillow, then,
To call back night, and see
Your worlds of solemn light, again,
Throb with my heart, and me!

It would not do- the pillow glowed,
And glowed both roof and floor;
And birds sang loudly in the wood,
And fresh winds shook the door;

The curtains waved, the wakened flies
Were murmuring round my room,
Imprisoned there, till I should rise,
And give them leave to roam.

Oh, stars, and dreams, and gentle night;
Oh, night and stars, return!
And hide me from the hostile light
That does not warm, but burn;

That drains the blood of suffering men;
Drinks tears instead of dew;
Let me sleep through his blinding reign,
And only wake with you!

Bronte, Emily. Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell with Cottage Poems by Patrick Bronte.  From The Works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte in Twelve Volumes, Volume 8.  London: J.M. Dent and Company, 1893. pp 79-81.

Gezari, Janet. Last Things: Emily Bronte’s Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp 29-30.

*A great blog on all things Bronte here


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Roberts, Isaac. Taken from his photograph of the Great Nebula in Andromeda, December 29, 1888.

The polar ice-caps are melting, the mountain glaciers
Drip into rivers; all feed the ocean;
Tides ebb and flow, but every year a little bit higher.
They will drown New York, they will drown London.
And this place, where I have planted trees and built a stone house,
Will be under sea. The poor trees will perish.
And little fish will flicker in and out the windows. I built it well,
Thick walls and Portland cement and gray granite,
The tower at least will hold against the sea’s buffeting; it will become
Geological, fossil and permanent.
What a pleasure it is to mix one’s mind with the geological
Time, or with astronomical relax it.
There is nothing like astronomy to pull the stuff out of man.
His stupid dreams and red-rooster importance: let him count the star-swirls.

Jeffers, Robinson. The Beginning and the End. New York: Random House, 1963. p. 18.

Image found in
Ball, Sir Robert S., Star-Land. London, Cassel and Co, 1892. p. 341, Fig. 88.

More information about Isaac Roberts here.

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The Epic Stars

Blaeu, Willem, Map 1, one set of three gores from Sphaera Stellifera.

The heroic stars spending themselves,
Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.
There is the stuff for an epic poem,
This magnificent raid at the heart of darkness, this lost battle-
We don’t know enough, we’ll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the gods for granted.

Jeffers, Robinson. The Beginning and the End. New York: Random House, 1963. p. 24.

Image found in
Warner, Deborah J. The Sky Explored: Celestial Cartography 1500-1800. New York: Alan R Liss, Inc., 1979. p.29.

Blaeu celestial globe here

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How Blind and Bright

The Sun as Revealed by Telescope and Spectroscope. (Trouvelot.) From Annals of Harvard College Observatory, 1899.

Light, visibility of light,
Sun, visibility of sun,
Light, sun and seeing,
Visibility of men.

How blind is bright!
How blind is bright!

Eyes looking out for eyes
Meet only seeing, in common faith,
Visibility and brightness.

Night, invisibility of light,
No sun, invisibility of sun,
Eyes in eyes sheltered,
Night, night and night.
All light, all fire, all eyes,
Wrapt in one conference of doubt.

Eyes not looking out for eyes
Look inward and meet sight
In common loneliness,
Invisibility and darkness.

How bright is blind!
How bright is blind!

Riding, Laura. The Poems of Laura Riding. New York: Persea, 1980. p. 24.

image found in
Todd, David. A New Astronomy. New York: American Book Company, 1906. Plate II. p.11.

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Falling Stars

Do you still remember: falling stars, how
they leapt slantwise through the sky
like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles
of our wishes- had we so many?-
for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;
almost every look upward was wedded
to the swift hazard of their play,
and the heart felt itself a single thing
beneath that vast disintegration of their brilliance-
and was whole, as though it would survive them!

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Uncollected Poems. Trans. Edward Snow. New York: North Point Press, 1999. pp 184-185.

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A new star has been discovered,
which doesn’t mean it’s gotten any brighter
or something missing has been gained.

The star is large and distant,
so distant, that it’s small,
even smaller than others
a lot smaller than itself.
Surprise would be nothing surprising
if we only had time for it.

Star’s age, star’s mass, star’s position,
all of that may be enough
for one doctoral thesis
and a modest glass of wine
in the circles close to the sky:
an astronomer, his wife, relatives, and colleagues,
a casual ambience, no dress code,
local topics fuel a down-to-earth conversation
and people are munching on terra chips.

A wonderful star,
but that’s still no reason
not to drink to the ladies,
incomparably closer.

Star without consequences.
Without influence on weather, fashion, the score of the game,
changes in government, income, or the crisis of values.

Why need we ask
under how many stars someone is born
and under how many stars they die a little while later?

A new one.
“At least show me where it is.”
“Between the edge of that jagged grayish cloud
and the twig of that locust tree on the left.”
“Oh,” I say.

Szymborska, Wislawa. Miracle Fair. Trans. Joanna Trzeciak. New York: Norton, 2002. pp 89-90..

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