Monday, 22 March 2010

Star Talk

Writing about Saturn's rings got me thinking of a Robert Graves poem I'm rather fond of. I don't very often post poems apart from my own, but this is an exception. I don't think it is as well-known as it deserves to be. It's a shame lines like "What do you hunt, Orion, / This starry night?" haven't passed into common usage, the way "Into the valley of death/Rode the six hundred" or "Do not go gentle into that good night" and suchlike have. Gemelli, by the way, is Italian for twins.

Totally off the point, I'm having great fun playing with my Deezer Playlist widget. If you like modern jazz and don't know Fluffy (I want you) by Polar Bear, it's there, waiting for you...

Star Talk

by Robert Graves

'Are you awake, Gemelli,
This frosty night?'
'We'll be awake till reveillé,
Which is Sunrise,' say the Gemelli,
'It's no good trying to go to sleep:
If there's wine to be got we'll drink it deep,
But rest is hopeless to-night,
But rest is hopeless to-night.'

'Are you cold too, poor Pleiads,
This frosty night?'
'Yes, and so are the Hyads:
See us cuddle and hug,' say the Pleiads,
'All six in a ring: it keeps us warm:
We huddle together like birds in a storm:
It's bitter weather to-night,
It's bitter weather to-night.'

'What do you hunt, Orion,
This starry night?'
'The Ram, the Bull and the Lion,
And the Great Bear,' says Orion,
'With my starry quiver and beautiful belt
I am trying to find a good thick pelt
To warm my shoulders to-night,
To warm my shoulders to-night.

'Did you hear that, Great She-bear,
This frosty night?
'Yes, he's talking of stripping me bare
Of my own big fur,' says the She-bear,
'I'm afraid of the man and his terrible arrow:
The thought of it chills my bones to the marrow,
And the frost so cruel to-night!
And the frost so cruel to-night!'

'How is your trade, Aquarius,
This frosty night?'
'Complaints is many and various
And my feet are cold,' says Aquarius,
'There's Venus objects to Dolphin-scales,
And Mars to Crab-spawn found in my pails,
And the pump has frozen to-night,
And the pump has frozen to-night.'


Enchanted Oak said...

Hello to you, Dominic. We visit some of the same people. You clicked on my Follower widget and I wanted to meet you. You have an interesting mind. The Robert Graves poem is delicious. I shall return!

Totalfeckineejit said...

I was unaware that I liked modern Jazz but seems like I do! I could taste all the ingredients of the bear soup and that double bass (was it a double bass?) was delicious but I swear it was saying 'Who are you?'

Re the poem,I like the idea of talking to stars and them interacting with each other too.

Must investigate you playlist further, did you find half the songs you wanted were not available, or is that just me?

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Love he Graves poem. Apropos.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.

EO: Thank you for saying so. It is delicious, isn't it? See you again!

TFE: My daughter took me to a Polar Bear gig at The Sage, Gateshead. It was a double bass, bowed instead of plucked.

There is a lot missing at Deezer, but there is a lot of interesting stuff too, though. There are loads of albums there by The Fall, for a start.

GOML: Good, isn't it?

the watercats said...

feckin Irish broadband providers have put a block on most of my songs on deezer and other streaming sites.. I've lost most of my playlist.. that's one of the things that makes me really ANGRY!!.. grrrr...
Missed the programme again.. I don't know what we end up doing!?

Titus said...

Thanks Dominic: I didn't know the poem but I'm glad I do now.

BwcaBrownie said...

Yes ... ditto Titus, and thank you from me now going off to look for more groovy Graves gravitas

Rachel Fenton said...

I had the urge to throw in a line or two about jelly beans and shiny beads for some inexplicable reason....moving in...don't want to like modern jazzz because then I will and I'll have to start coveting it. Thanks for the poem.

BarbaraS said...

Oh I like this, it's so playful - 'tis a good introduction for younger folk, and I can hear it being sung!

Anonymous said...

I haven't come across this one since I was at school. It was a favourite of my English teacher. Thanks for the re-acquaintance.

Lyn said...

How brilliant and playful the Graves good of you to remind us..bringing us a master...thanks!