Stranger Fruit

Friday Poem (0125)



Musing, between the sunset and the dark,
As Twilight in unhesitating hands
Bore from the faint horizon’s underlands,
Silvern and chill, the moon’s phantasmal ark,
I heard the sea, and far away could mark
Where that unalterable waste expands
In sevenfold sapphire from the mournful sands,
And saw beyond the deep a vibrant spark.

There sank the sun Arcturus, and I thought:
Star, by an ocean on a world of thine,
May not a being, born like me to die,
Confront a little the eternal Naught
And watch our isolated sun decline–
Sad for his evanescence, even as I?

George Sterling


  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    January 25, 2008


    by Jonathan Vos Post
    copyright (c) 2007 by Emerald City Publishing
    based on “New Facts About Old Friends” by Fred Schaaf,
    Sky & Telecope, June 2007, p.42

    Regulus is a bullet, whirling
    once every 15.9 hours, in Leo,
    not like a frisbee, or a hubcap hurling
    in the plane it spins in, but on its axis.
    Nothing is certain but death and taxes,
    and Regulus swirling, nearly due West,
    equator bulging as it incandesced.

    Arcturus, the only 1st magnitude star
    so highly inclined to the galaxy’s disk,
    plunges Southward through it, so far,
    so fast, that there’s this asterisk:
    it has been hypothesized
    Arcturus and 52 other known suns
    in orbits outside the mainstream, that runs
    as the remnant of a dwarf galaxy
    that collided with ours, and was cannibalized.

    Another fast spinner is Vega; it aims
    one of its poles at us. Fred Schaaf exclaims:
    “If Vega has planets, they probably follow
    orbits close to [Vega’s] plane…”
    Vegans, no matter what they swallow,
    see our Sun as their polestar. We do not complain.

    2 June 2007


    I have had several astronomical poems anthologized, published in Analog, by the AAAS, in Science, coauthored with Feynman, and coauthored with Ray Bradbury. One of my astronomical poems won the 1987 Rhysling Award for Best Science Fiction Poem of the year (“Before the Big Bang: News from the Hubble Large Space Telescope”).

    NEW TALES OF OLD STARS” has not yet been published in a journal or magazine, despite the recommendation of Kelly Beatty,
    Executive Editor, SKY & TELESCOPE.

    By submitting this, with permission, to be posted on the “Stranger Fruit” blog, I do no waive any rights of reproduction, especially First North American Reprint Rights. But I’d love some feedback from this sophisticated audience.

    Emerald City Publishing has been a sole proprietorship of mine since circa 1979.

    — Jonathan Vos Post
    former Adjunct Professor of Astronomy
    Cypress College

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