the night sky

Tonight we'll be having a program at Sticks College's Observatory. The Professor in charge does this program for free and the families loved it last year! He talks a little about the night sky and what we can expect to see, then opens the Observatory roof, and lets folks take turn looking through his telescope. Last year we had over 40 people show up, pretty amazing since the program begins at 9:30p.m.!
I'll be laying on the grass, looking skyward and thinking summer thoughts tonight. :)
A Summer Night
Out on the lawn I lie in bed,
Vega conspicuous overhead
In the windless nights of June,
As congregated leaves complete
Their day’s activity; my feet
Point to the rising moon.
Lucky, this point in time and space
Is chosen as my working-place,
Where the sexy airs of summer,
The bathing hours and the bare arms,
The leisured drives through a land of farms
Are good to a newcomer.
Equal with colleagues in a ring
I sit on each calm evening
Enchanted as the flowers
The opening light draws out of hiding
With all its gradual dove-like pleading,
Its logic and its powers:
That later we, though parted then,
May still recall these evenings when
Fear gave his watch no look;
The lion griefs loped from the shade
And on our knees their muzzles laid,
And Death put down his book.
Now north and south and east and west
Those I love lie down to rest;
The moon looks on them all,
The healers and the brilliant talkers,
The eccentrics and the silent walkers,
The dumpy and the tall.
She climbs the European sky,
Churches and power stations lie
Alike among earth’s fixtures:
Into the galleries she peers
And blankly as a butcher stares
Upon the marvelous pictures.
To gravity attentive, she
Can notice nothing here, though we
Whom hunger does not move,
From gardens where we feel secure
Look up and with a sigh endure
The tyrannies of love:
And, gentle, do not care to know,
Where Poland draws her eastern bow,
What violence is done,
Nor ask what doubtful act allows
Our freedom in this English house,
Our picnics in the sun.
Soon, soon, through the dykes of our content
The crumpling flood will force a rent
And, taller than a tree,
Hold sudden death before our eyes
Whose river dreams long hid the size
And vigours of the sea.
But when the waters make retreat
And through the black mud first the wheat
In shy green stalks appears,
When stranded monsters gasping lie,
And sounds of riveting terrify
Their whorled unsubtle ears,
May these delights we dread to lose,
This privacy, need no excuse
But to that strength belong,
As through a child’s rash happy cries
The drowned parental voices rise
In unlamenting song.
After discharges of alarm
All unpredicted let them calm
The pulse of nervous nations,
Forgive the murderer in the glass,
Tough in their patience to surpass
The tigress her swift motions.


--W. H. Auden

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