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Perseids Meteor Shower

The First Year

The experts in astronomy
announced it on the BBC:
“This month we’ll see a meteor shower
with eighty shooting stars per hour.
Watch for it on the twelfth of August.”
That, at least, is what they promised.

They said if we were curious
to look northeast, toward Perseus.
“But,” they said, “the moon’s too bright
to see them early in the night.
Wait ‘til it sets at half-past four.
Do stay up late. You’ll see lots more.”

I got my lounger, blankets, tea
a radio for company;
set my alarm for four-fifteen
(it’s true, that hour is obscene).
When it went off, I got my kids:
“Come out and see the Perseids!”

“You woke us up for this?” they cried
then half asleep, went back inside.
I can’t be sure if they exist
’cause all I saw was clouds and mist;
but if they’re coming back next year
you can bet that I’ll be here.

The Next Year

Retrieved the lounger, blankets, tea;
the kids stayed in to watch TV.
The sky was clear, the moon was new
the Perseids were overdue.
An hour passed, I searched the sky
then in the corner of my eye
I think I saw one overhead.
I thanked the Lord and went to bed.

Last Year

Three years on I try again.
The newspapers and weathermen
joined the BBC’s pronouncements,
timetables, and moon announcements:
"This year it peaks from twelve 'til two,
no moon tonight – a perfect view."
Okay, but this time is the last
if meteors aren’t thick and fast.

I counted maybe six or seven
streaking Perseids leave heaven
when clouds came down and closed the show.
Next year, perhaps, another go....

© S. K. Harrington - all rights reserved

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