Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Watching The Skies

I did think of staying up last night to catch the Perseid meteor shower but when I checked around 10.30 the sky was cloudy so I thought better of it and went to bed.

I have seen meteors.  They're great, green, whooshy things. Blink and you miss 'em. In my memory they take up half the sky and come with added sound effects. I know my memory lies. 

As a child I was afraid of the night sky. Standing out on the drive I'd get overcome by thoughts of eternity and infinity and have to rush back indoors before the immensity swallowed me up. In middle-age I mastered that fear by studying star maps.  I got so I could locate all the main constellations and name the bigger stars. The stars have wonderful names- Arabic mostly. Walter de la Mare has a poem in which he wonders whether it's the stars themselves that fascinate him or their names. It certainly adds to the romance of a distant point of light when you can address it as Algol or Betelgeuse. 

I'd love to own one of those old celestial globes where the constellations are represented as mythological personalities  all jumbled together in the baroque style.  Terrifying- but deliciously so.  Not just infinity, not just eternity, but also writhing sea-monsters and enormous men with swords and clubs. 

I slept out once on a hillside in Provence. No clouds. No light pollution. So many stars.  
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