The mountains echo with the hollow dreams of Day
As the Great Bear leaps overhead
Tonight, you’re dancing with the Northern Lights
Pulling emerald from the starlight like a string
Of candy floss wrapped around the Earth.
The Great Bear watches catching sight
Of its own reflection painted black by
The dark side of the moon.
While the skyline sleeps beneath the blanket of space
A solitary eye crosses continents and oceans.
But it won’t linger here
There’s a path to trace across the sky.
As it follows the Great Bear on its journey home.
This poem was inspired by several things. Firstly by the fantastic images of Earth taken from the International Space Station by some of the most skilled amateur photographers on Earth – or off it in this case. From up there, everything looks far more magical. The Northern Lights, instead of ribbons tumbling across the sky, seem to drape themselves over the great blue sphere like a scarf, keeping it warm for the winter. The other part of this inspiration was the constellation of Ursa Major, often known as The Great Bear, and commonly known as it contains The Big Dipper. I imagined what it must be like both looking down on Earth from that constellation, as well as looking up at it. My muse was, in part, the first painting of my Cosmic Nature series, also titled Ursa Major, and which I’m sharing afresh for International Polar Bear Day. Must read: A pictoral history of Earth from space
Ursa Major, Oils on Board
Just as the stars are threatened by the spread of our city lights, the polar bear is threatened by our spread and our impact on Earth. Luckily, the Great Bear is safe up there.
Below are a few of my favourite Earth images:
Image Credits: NASA / Donald Pettit