Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bright Star / Dark Star (After Keats)

Bright Star by Keats

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No - yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever - or else swoon to death.

Dark Star by Simon Bucher-Jones

Keats did not see – another - slope away,
Dark rogue, invisible to the human eye,
Leaving Ophiuchus’ snakes, footloose, astray
(Im)proper motion, startlingly high.
10.3 seconds of arc, in yearly pace,
A brown dwarf, blushing red in infra-light,
Leaving all others - relatively - fixed in place,
12 billion years old: moving through the night!
Peter Van de Kamp, (though maybe a mistake)
Predicted its giant worlds – none yet discovered
They might have been abandoned, in its wake,
Grumbling of senile stars, and ‘lookin’ bothered’.
So poets? Licence sought for travellin' far?
Observe the ancient, cruisin’, Barnard’s Star.

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