A Father’s Tale

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It is a Father’s Tale

Time out of time I carried you in your dressing gown

downstairs out into the moonless night.

We gazed at a thousand suns studding the sky;

meandering along back lanes I lifted your arm

to point at Orion, drifting above rooftops.

We drew a ‘w’ and a triangle in the dark bowl,

traced a hunter’s belt and coloured in a lion,

a charioteer, a plough and a little bear.

I didn’t know then that you’d drift out of reach

when I reached for the thousand and one stories

to keep you listening – to keep you where

trolls, giants and goats sleep under bridges.

 

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Turn Left at Orion

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Another one for National Poetry Day. I used to do a fair bit of amateur astronomy so this is where this poem came from.

There was an astronomy book, titled, Turn Left at Orion!

Turn left at Orion forty years ago

I tried my best to follow directions

but the vast empty spaces proved

difficult to navigate. The hero’s belt pointed somwhere:

go straight on at Gemini, turn right at Taurus; going by the book

I was at home splitting double stars and measuring

eclipsing binaries, but still wobbled

when I came down to earth. How I longed

to feel solid ground beneath my feet.

*

Today I wander into my back yard and greet

constant Orion again but know eventually

the pattern will change, that his belt will loosen,

that even a Greek hero will drift apart.