Canopus: B L Taylor


When quacks with pills political would dope us,
When politics absorbs the livelong day,
I like to think about the star Canopus,
So far, so far away.
Greatest of visioned suns, they say who list ’em;
To weigh it science always must despair.
Its shell would hold our whole danged solar system,
Nor ever know ’twas there.
When temporary chairmen utter speeches,
And frenzied henchmen howl their battle hymns,
My thoughts float out across the cosmic reaches
To where Canopus swims.
When men are calling names and making faces,
And all the world’s ajangle and ajar,
I meditate on interstellar spaces
And smoke a mild seegar.
For after one has had about a week of
The arguments of friends as well as foes,
A star that has no parallax to speak of
Conduces to repose.

B L Taylor


The illustration is copyright: Cardens Design via Shutterstock

This idea really worked for me. Not Canopus, but the bar that used to be at the top of the Pan Am building on Park Avenue. On days when the general public was too much to take (I worked in ‘British Information Services’) we used to take ourselves off for a drink in this bar after work. It was magical, and not just the ‘Black Russians’ (Vodka and Kahlua). I am not sure how many floors up we were, but it was just the right amount to put our problems in perspective as we looked down at Park Avenue, mesmerised by the pattern of changing traffic lights. The world below was still real, and recognizable (this system does not work at the top of, say, the Empire State building where the real world becomes altogether too remote).

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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