Weekend Words: Stardust

Giovanni da Modena. "The Appearance of the Star" (c. 1412). Fresco. Basilica di San Petronio, Bologna.
Giovanni da Modena. “The Appearance of the Star” (c. 1412). Fresco. Basilica di San Petronio, Bologna.

With a meteor streaking across the Siberian sky and the Oscars ceremony tonight, Weekend Words fixes its eye on the stars — shooting, falling or going nowhere in particular.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

—Jack London

“You will see Coleridge; he who sits obscure
In the exceeding lustre, and the pure
Intense irradiation of a mind,
Which, with its own internal lightning blind,
Flags wearily through darkness and despair—
A cloud-encircled meteor of the air,
A hooded eagle among blinking owls.—”

—Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Letter to Maria Gisborne”

“When I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”

—Vincent van Gogh

“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.”

—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the Sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.

—T. S. Eliot, “East Coker”

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