The stars are odd creatures “up above the world so high.” We can never touch them, yet they touch us. We watch them in awe. But they are unaware of us burning brightly longer than we will ever live. They are akin to the Greek Gods who were beautiful and admired by mortals yet they ignored and disdained us.
I wonder as I read this poem if his love is someone who was admired by him, but he was unseen by her. I wonder if she was one of his beloved stars.
If you have the opportunity to see them in the remote country, you’ll see a blanket of them covering the sky and it is marvelous! In the city (especially in Seattle where it’s always cloudy) to catch sight of one feels like catching sight of a miracle – they’re so rare and difficult to see. It’s a shame.
I like the idea that they are a natural thing of beauty, so amazing that even a poem has difficulty capturing the essence of it. I like also that in ancient times they were mistaken for gods or angels or simply just beautiful objects, but now we see them and we see possibilities. Could those lights be suns? Could those suns have other marvelous worlds like ours? What amazing sights do those hold? Who are the wondrous creatures that live there? Do they look up at their sky and see our sun twinkling in the distance? Do they compose poems to its beauty?
Bright Star! Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art
by John Keats
Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art –
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite
The moving waters at their priest-like task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or grazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors –
No – yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever – or else swoon to death.
Note: Eremite: hermit