How many of us
Have stood alone
With our thoughts and feelings
And gazed into this vast expanse
We call the universe?
I have, with my aching bones and my troubled mind
And I’ve asked the question — why?
Why does the moon beckon to me
What is this force that is pulling my gaze upon it?
Its a-luminous appeal
And surface scarred by time
Its craters remind me of the moment
The asteroids struck its heart
But we still both shine.
How the stars wink at me —
Are they calling me,
playing a game,
Or simply looking down?
Maybe guiding me to better times.
I take heart when the sun starts to rise
Life itself is enriched
By its warmth and energy
It shines so bright.
Now I have the answer why.
Everything relates to the sun and the moon, to life playing its game. Why does the moon draw us with its craters, the knocks and bangs of life? The moon is very powerful, it gives us gravity, weight, it moves the seas. The waves of emotion in ourselves, the werewolves in us comes with the moon. I’ve got bruises of the heart – they relate to the craters on the moon. The moon must’ve hurt when those asteroids struck.
Surface scarred by time, that’s my life. But I’m still shining bright. That’s come from you, that idea. Telling me to be proud of what I’m doing, these poems. Telling me to rise up, to stand alone in my individuality. My poems are the voice I’ve found, words scattered on scraps and I’ve assembled them with you. You’ve given me a precious gift and I hope to pass it on.
Actually I’m dyslexic, it’s why they called me stupid at school, but I’m qualified to write this. I’ve got the certificate, I’ve lived a life that’s battered me and I write from experience. Sometimes my mind screams at me like a teacher — why can’t you spell this properly? But what we have got to communicate as human beings is more important than spelling it correctly.
I invite people to do what it says in this poem, to take time to look at the sky, to look at the whole universe, and gaze and ask why. We are going through some terrible times and we need to take stock. I understand, I used to do it after my wife died. I carry the whole night sky in my memory, I close my eyes and I see it all. And I’m still asking it questions. Asking why, asking why.
A Necklace of Stars, working with older people in Derbyshire, is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Derbyshire, DCC Public Health and Derbyshire County Council Home Library Service. This project is particularly aimed at countering isolation; during the pandemic we’ve been working using distance methods – phone conversations and post.