The Ancient Modern

Sidereal Invitation /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

How I miss the nighttime sky!

The skies in Addis are gloomy this time of yearlow and intimidating. And the dark clouds follow through with their threat: they’ve cut me off from seeing the stars. But these clouds don’t know the power of my memory. You see, the stars have issued me an open invitation, an endless summons.

There were many evenings in Santa Fe, when I stood on mesas or in arroyos and drew my hand along the Zodiacthrough that invisible chord that threads the planets. Time runs differently in Earth’s shadow. Appearances are dimmed; essences appear. Night, if we are willing to wake, is a wild sweep into the luminous darkness. Our first chance at eternity.

The gloomy Addis sky has brought back a memory of one night, not very long ago, when I saw Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and the Moon all together in a solemn procession, leading out the stars, as the sunset faded from turquoise-green to amber-red to charcoal-blue.

I remember that I asked them many questions. I always ask questions of the planets! And I get more answers than I can carry down. I want to tell you what they said, but I think their words would seem strange and useless.

Unless you, too, have traced the path and raised your hands to Heaven?

unless you have longed to be a priest of sacred offerings? Blessing Heaven, and calling down a blessing in return?

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2019 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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