Star attraction

The Hunter’s Return

Long months he was gone,
Whole horizons away.

All summer unseen,
He appeared in the east,

With his belt and his sword,
Winter slung on his back.

He has struck down the sun,
Chased the warmth from the earth,

Now the night will be his,
Ruled with iron and ice,

Till the roll of the world
Sends him roving again.

Out with the whippet last night, I saw that Orion was back after his summer break in the Southern Hemisphere. For me, the return of this magnificent constellation to our northern latitudes is the first sign that winter is truly on its way. But I was born under this sky, and I’m always happy to see those seven stars, like bright nails hammered into heaven, blazing overhead once more. This poem comes from the gonecycling back catalogue; it’s actually one of the first I ever wrote, way back in 2004.

11 thoughts on “Star attraction

  1. A most lovely poem!
    I don’t see many poems featuring astronomy so thank you for sharing this poem again.
    It’s made me long for a good night stargazing with the telescope. 🙂

    • Thank you, Tikarma – this poem is some of my very earliest writing, from 2004, long before I had the courage to ‘go public’ with it (I resisted the whole blog thing until May 2010, si this poem has been paked, unseen, on my hard drive for seven years!) I don’t know anything about astonomy, in the scientific sense, but I like knowing the names of certain stars, and being able to recognise the different constellations as the year rolls round. I still remember seeing the Southern Cross when I was in Australia 20-odd years ago; thank you for letting us borrow Orion for a few months!

  2. One of the downsides Nick of living in the city is the lack of a night sky.

    I remember visiting my young brother who lives in the Scottish countryside some way north of Aberdeen and staning in his garden after dark mesmerised by what I was seeing.

    I look forward to more of your back catalogue


    • The lack of light pollution at night is one of the many reasons I love our campsite in Brittany – but that, of course, is the summer stars, which for some reason I’ve never found as interesting or inspiring as the winter ones. Maybe it’s something to do with having a November birthday. I definitely feel that some of the seaons’s darkness and melancholy has settled in my soul, but there are also points of brilliant light in the firmament – your support and friendship, for one. Thank you, as ever.

  3. This is a really lovely “starry” poem!

    And I love the line in your note at the end of the poem too, “…like bright nails hammered into heaven…”

    Happy birthday too, whenever it is in November!


    PS I can’t believe you have hidden this poem for so long! I hope you don’t hide any more!

    • Thank you! This year I shall be 18 with 25 years’ experience…as to my ‘hidden poems’, I’m afraid there are dozen and dozens, dating back to 2003 (I didn’t dare start blogging until May 2010, which shows just what a craven coward I am!) Some of them are probably best left undisturbed, to be honest, but I guess it might be worth having a rummage round to see if there’s anything else worth sharing! Thank you so much for the vote of confidence; it means a great deal.

  4. Hi Nick,

    Really good poem, the return of Orion ( “he” ).
    🙂 One of my favourite memories was when someone carried me outside in the middle of a winters night to watch the stars 🙂
    The seven nails as you call them I know them too and here where I live, is one of the best places of my overpopulated country to do some stargazing as it gets really dark on the island. Though this was the warmest 3rd of November ever, and nature seems to keep a Summer mood, I too like the idea that Winter is about to come back. As long as there is Spring to follow 🙂 “With his belt and his sword,
    Winter slung on his back.” I must admit I didn’t get that line.
    What does that mean?

    Hope to see more of the old poetry you have hidden!
    Love and hugs!

    • ‘His belt and his sword’ refer to the straight line of three stars through the middle of the constellation (which we call Orion’s Belt here) and the cluster of paler stars, including a nebula, just below it, which we call the Sword. And the next line is just my way of saying that he always seems to bring winter in with him, like a hunter carrying his kill. I’ll dig out some more ‘old stuff’ and see what you think!

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