Thursday, July 23, 2015

Starlight by William Meredith

Going abruptly into a starry night It is ignorance we blink from, dark, unhoused; There is a gaze of animal delight To nebulous danger, we may look for easy stars, Before the human vision. Then, aroused These learned fields. Dark and ignorant, Orion and the Dipper; but they are not ours, Vestigial in us. And we think, Ah, Unable to see here what our forebears saw, We keep some fear of random firmament Could have found more likely pictures in haphazard sky. If I had lived then, when these stories were made up, I But this is not so. Indeed, we have proved fools Scales and hunter, goat and horologe—are all When it comes to myths and images. A few Old bestiaries, pantheons and tools Translated to the heavens years ago— Do not have shapes. They are like that astral way That save us when, time and again, our systems fall. And what would we do, given a fresh sky And our dearth of image? Our fears, our few beliefs To keep the sky free of luxurious shapes We have called milky, vague stars and star-reefs That were shapeless even to the fecund eye of myth— Surely these are no forms to start a zodiac with. Is an occupation for most of us, the mind Free of luxurious thoughts. If we choose to escape, What venial constellations will unwind Around a point of light, and then cannot be found Another night or by another man or from other ground. As for me, I would find faces there, The way the pronoun you will turn dark verses bright. Or perhaps one face I have long taken for guide; Far-fetched, maybe, like Cygnus, but as fair, And a constellation anyone could read Once it was pointed out; an enlightenment of night, The way the pronoun you will turn dark verses bright.

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