The star exploded in a distant galaxy Expanding in a sphere of radiant power, Propelling waves of light through space and time And turning their momentum into song. They saw the evolution of our Earth, And cast their light on our dark history; They led a strange procession into Bethlehem And soothed a saviour child to smiling slumber. And still their star-song shields our sleeping children From our history, which enslaves us from our birth. It leads us through the myriad stars of heaven To the birth pangs of the light that brought us life; Leading all things to their beginning, Transforming nightmares into future dreams. Richard
The starting point for this sonnet is the science linking time and distance. The stars are so distant that we see them not as they are now but as they were when their light first began to travel to us billions of years ago.
The song of the travelling light is their radio waves, the reference to Bethlehem imagines the star’s light arriving at the time of the Nativity. As a Church of England Reader, I had the privilege of preaching at the Midnight
Mass one Christmas Eve. John’s Gospel tells us that when we see the infant Jesus, we are looking at the Word of God at beginning of Creation. In the second part of the poem we return to the beginning by looking back into the night sky.
As a teacher of Music and English I have been strongly influenced by rhythm and sound. Theology and Philosophy are key influences. Poetry is important to me. My own poetry follows free forms, or uses the Sonnet, which forces me to be concise. Being a shielded lockdown person has given me time to explore my interests. When I retired from teaching – because of Parkinson’s disease – I joined a creative writing course in North East Derbyshire adult education service. I am grateful for the opportunity the Necklace of Stars project offers to explore my work more deeply.
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 – post and phone conversations.