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Night Sky

The Triumph of Achilles

When I was younger, in college, I would find myself home for the summer and with not much to do I would spend my nights drinking cheap beer and smoking cigarettes and reading long into the night–sometimes high-brow stuff like philosophy or theory, other times Sherlock Holmes (which is still one of my favorites).

Periodically, I would wander the yard out behind my parent’s house and stare up at the night sky and feel such immensity. My very heart and yearning would lift me off the ground (so I felt) for the desire of encompassing all that was happening in the world: all the world was and all that I could be in it. Swirling with constellations: Orion, the Pleiades, the Big Dipper, Canus Major, Canus Minor, a train horn sounding trailing into the night and dragging it’s length into the wide world full of bars and people and action and light and sound and spinning adventure. Such were my thoughts. It is a sensation that I have experienced periodically in the many years that have passed since, and rarely as of late. Until tonight…

all through the night they sat, and their fires burned many and brilliant. / As at a time that the stars in heaven surrounding the shining / moon are themselves bright shining, when high in the air it is windless, / so that the lookout places appear, and the lofty escarpments, / and the ravines, and the measureless air breaks open from heaven– / all of the stars can be seen; in his spirit the shepherd rejoices– / just so now were, between those ships and the streams of Xanthos / there before Ilion, shining the fires that the Trojans had kindled. / Over the plain were a thousand fires now burning, and fifty / Trojans were sitting beside each one in the glow of the firelight. / There too, feeding upon white barley and oats, were the horses / close to the chariots standing; the fair-throned Dawn they awaited.” –From the Iliad, End of Book 8.

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