star feature

It’s that time of year again, when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet and our skies light up with shooting stars. (They aren’t stars in the photo, of course; I don’t think they’re even moon daisies: but daytime weeds are a lot easier to photograph than the sky at night.)

In the village in Spain, you only had to step outside onto the lawn and look up, and there was the Milky Way speckle-splashed across the sky as if someone had flicked a paintbrush from one side of the valley to the other.
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the sun and the stars

It seems wrong not to post to the blog with a poem for the Perseid meteor shower. Unfortunately, I don’t have any shooting-stars poems that haven’t been posted previously. Instead, the best I’ve come up with is a picture of this glorious miniature sun which is currently flowering in my back garden:

Those who want the poetry will find some if they click the link above. And I’ll go out and star-gaze later on and see if I can have something new written in time for next year.

shooting stars II

Yesterday‘s narrator had all she wished for, which might be why the poem was so short. Today’s narrator doesn’t, though she seems to have realised that wishing on a star won’t help:


The night I met you fire flared in the skies
and seams of gold were visible across
the coalmine dark. Nature had purged the dross
of normal life, it seemed. We raised our eyes
to watch with joy as stars fell round about:
each one a dream of summer love, a wish,
each an unspoken promise, each a kiss
that fanned desire and silenced truth and doubt.
And so we boldly told each other lies,
pretending to believe they could come true;
we watched those stars like lovers, though we knew
that we could not escape existing ties.
At heart, we knew the stars are fixed, not free,
set in their courses, much like you and me.


Gredos twilight

Watching shooting stars,
your arm around my shoulders

No need for wishes

For those who are looking for more perseids, I posted a few other pieces on the subject of shooting stars this time last year.

shooting stars

Not perseids this time, just sparkling sunshine reflected off waves that looks** like shooting stars if you screw your eyes up against the glare:

Postcard from the beach

The weather is nice…

The sun is dropping
diamonds on the sea.
I squint against the glare
and see a storm
of shooting stars that fall
too fast to single one
and make a wish.
Yet this whole moment
is a wish for you.


** yes, the singular verb agrees with its subject – the sparkling sunshine – but it sure sounds odd.

more perseids

moon and cloud

One of the poems I submitted to the South Bank Poetry Magazine competition earlier this year was Getting Around on the Underground, a sort of reminiscence of romantic and risqué encounters around London by a female narrator.

Somewhere amid the rambling it contains the following:

                        […]the time we sneaked into St James’s Park
and lay at 2 a.m. in August dark, spaced out on meteor scatter,
cool grass at our backs, the universe heavy above us.[…]

Of course that scene was inspired by the memory I mentioned yesterday of watching the Perseids in Battersea Park back in the early Eighties.
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“just one more”

It’s 4 a.m. and you stand on the lawn,
knees slightly bent, head back, facing
infinity, scanning for meteors. Come on;
it’s time for bed
, I Zebedee, but you beg,
Just one more. And so I watch you
watching for falling stars, diamond scatter
from the Milky Way, and think of the tip-tilt,
star-gazey hare in the moon. There! look!
You point skywards, but the pointing finger
roots me firmly to the earth. Come on,
I say, but you are galaxies away, determined
to wait for Just one more.

It’s that time of year again: time for the Perseids, which I saw for the first time lying in Battersea Park two day’s after I had my wisdom teeth out. Although I was with a couple of radio hams who assured me they were ‘meteor scatter’, even some thirty years later I still wish when I see a shooting star.