Time for the Stars

Time for the Stars

Time for the stars, my friend
Across the firmament of night
Shooting stars, flares of light
Burning up in a fiery end

In the heavens, signs portend
On earth, darkness or delight
Time for the stars, my friend
Across the firmament of night

In space: who shall we send?
Across that canopy of night
Following a destiny so bright
And a rocket ship will ascend
Time for the stars, my friend


As Steven Erlanger wrote:

At the school assembly that day, they sang “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and were about to start classes when they heard a roar in the distance.

Fifty years ago, after days of hard rain, a mountain of coal waste and slurry slid through Aberfan in a black avalanche, crushing the town’s school in its path and killing 28 adults and 116 children.

At the inquest, when a child’s cause of death was listed as asphyxia and multiple injuries, one father famously said: “No, sir. Buried alive by the National Coal Board. That is what I want to see on the record....

In Mourning

Today's poem is a reflection on grief and mourning, of individuals, of communities and of nations.

In Mourning

Sarah died at Hebron, her last breath,
And Abraham wept, mourned her death;
The tears flow, they water the dry land,
And time blows away like desert sand;
The prophet picked up the dead man:
The man of God, lived so short a span,
Until he died, and took him to his city,
Buried, mourned, and wept with pity;
All Israel will mourn for him, bury him:
The darkness comes, light grows dim;
The lowly will be set on high, above,
Those who mourn enfolded in love;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh:
Memories radiate, time cut in half;
Half life, that which remains, lament,
Weeping, garments torn, and rent;
A time to mourn, a time to dance:
Merry meetings past, happy chance;
Grief is destitute, she sits on the ground,
And bones are gathered in burial mound;
Mourn with bitter wailing, hope is dead:
And all that remains is the fear and dread;
Comfort all who mourn, and dry the tear,
Light the candle, take away all the fear;
Put on sackcloth, my people, roll in ash:
Where death intrudes, a chasm, a crash;
The earth will mourn, heavens grow dark,
The destroyer will come, will leave a mark;
How broken is the sceptre, broken the staff:
And the tyrant remains, with mocking laugh;
But the empires will fall, and tyrant’s throne,
Once so mighty, now mere dust and bone;
Nineveh is in ruins, who will mourn for her?
And nothing can halt it, nothing doom deter;
The land trembles, and the earth cries out,
And there is nowhere safe, no redoubt;
Woe to you well fed now, eating well,
For you will go hungry, your nations sell;

The Sunset Touch

I have been reading Richard Coles' autobiography, thinking about all the deaths punctuating his story, and then  all those whom I have known, not just those old, those dying of cruel dementia, of cancer, of heat disease, of AIDs, or even those who have tragically taken their own life. This poem owes a lot to T.F. Powys, and in particular to a mood he creates in "Darkness and Nathaniel".

The Sunset Touch

Before the ending of our day,
We see the sunset touch and pray
And wonder much about just how
Our time will come, next day or now

Come, final rest for weary eyes
The weight of time brings heavy sighs
And Darkness comes, our unclay foe
The time is coming, that we know

The time of sorrows will be done
The night approaches, no more sun
Embrace the Darkness, do not flee
Come, blessed death eternally....

A Harvest Song

A Harvest Song

Come, autumn winds, come fell the fruits of harvest home
Apples gathering in, last fruits before the storms begin
Crush the applies, take cider home, apples ferment and foam
Come and taste harvest and begin, drinking at the merry inn

Fallow lies the empty field, harvest a plenty it did yield
Once the seed potato sown, picked when ripe, full grown
Now the grassland is over field, soil is resting, to be healed
And the migrating birds take flight, seeking warmer light

For the time of Mabon shall come, to take a final harvest home
From the field in that day, ripening before the Fall’s decay
And Modron will sleep at last, her falling leaves are cast
Apples gathered in to store, blessings of the harvest lore

With the spells of ancient tome, bless a final harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, before the winter’s cold begin
Now earth her secrets hide, deep in soil her seeds abide
Come into warmth, by fireside, and tell tales of old, inside.


Viewing the night sky has been particularly good on various days this week, and Jupiter through the Astronomy Club telescope is a sight to marvel at. Here is a poem reflecting an astronomical theme. It is a more pagan and neoplatonic version of Henry Lyte's “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven”.


Bright is Jupiter, the King of Heaven;
In the night sky, wonders bring
In my imagination be forgiven,
For thinking that the planets sing
Jupiter, Bringer of Joy, a Hymn
Of all our planets surely King

Planet omens for fortune’s favour
Or evil warning of distress.
To our short life span, seems forever
Ancients saw them come to bless
Venus, goddess, praise in Hymn
Shining white, and now fluoresce

Comets from deep space encircle us
Plumes of ions bright like snows
Omens of disaster for us
Times of enemies and foes
Darkest times, and darker Hymn
As through solar system flows

Mighty Aten, sun, adore him
But never see him face to face;
Sun and moon, a dance, a hymn
Dwellers all in time and space
In the cosmos all now swim
Dance of majesty and grace

Rainy day in Knaresborough

This isn't a poem about my experience, but about Katalin's trip to Knaresborough - I saw her album, and heard her talk about the lovely day she had there, and I thought it would be nice to make a poem about it dedicated to her.

Rainy day in Knaresborough

At the platform, I leave the train
Returning to this lovely market town
Walking through softly falling rain
Viaduct over river Nidd flows down

Knaresborough Castle in ruined state
Retains a grandeur in remaining wall
And I ponder its rise to majesty, its fate
Walk by moat gardens, towers tall

Glistening pavements, it is raining still
I pass Blind Jack Metcalf in the square
Have a coffee and a cake, to hunger fill
Pass by the church, just time to spare

Now I’m waiting at the station, for my train
Beautiful memories, despite the falling rain


A poem from my "back catalogue" today, from 2003. Somewhat gloomy but suitable to a spell of fever that I've been experiencing.


Death blows so very cold, the other wind,
That ends the life of those so sinned,
Wherein the dark land, the final wall,
A crossing in sorrow, in our fall,
To the land of emptiness, of bone dry dust,
And end to fighting, no swords to rust,
But ends too joy, and all life's hope
The hanged man dangling from his rope
The Moon of the Tarot wears a gown,
And watches the Tower crumbling down,
The Dance is over, the cards blown away,
And so reveal the Tarot's day.

The People’s Park: A Poem

Following my custom of recording notable events, this poem looks back to the 1946 Liberation Day celebrations in the People's Park, and forward to the celebrations last year, and retaining the Park for the future generations to come. Astute readers may notice that I also reference a very famous American speech, which gives it a different tone.

The People’s Park

We cannot consecrate, nor hallow, this land,
Where on Liberation day played the band,
Both in 1946, and again, even so, last year:
The first time, an ending of dark time of fear,
And the latter, remembering their distant kin,
Who came to celebrate the Allies victory win,
And VE day in Europe, in that self-same park;
And never may that light be dimmed, that spark
Of joy, of freedom, for where else should they go
But a People’s Park! Do not forget but know,
And know well, that noble and honoured past
That is the true Covenant, long may it last!
The fight on plans ended, there will not be a war:
And for now the Park is safe once more,
Where dogs are walked, children kick a ball:
Such treasured moments may seem so small,
But the world is made of tiny precious things,
To smell a rose, or hear a bird as sweetly sings;
The world will little note, nor long remember that,
But we should never forget the park where sat
Those remembering the darkest days of war;
And last year, we too came in homage and saw,
And heard the sounds and sights of yesteryear:
The music and songs which banished fear;
It is for us, the living, to be dedicated to save this
From the cold equations, the rationalist abyss:
The memory of the past, of our honoured dead,
And the tears and suffering ...


The news is that the foghorn may be decommissioned at Corbiere by Ports of Jersey (having only just taken over a lease on the lighthouse from the States), and many foghorns have across the British Isles. They are no longer used because on-board navigation and radar systems are deemed to have made them redundant.

But in 2011 a writer posted this - not everyone has on-board navigation, and small boats with paddles don't.

"We paddled around La Corbiere, Jersey, in heavy swell and fog, its regular 4 beat ('C' for La Corbiere in morse), powerful enough to set our boats resonating and apparently flatten the water. Very reassuring, it will be a shame if this goes....