Sunday, 11 March 2012

Five planets

My camera doesn't like the dark. But here's the picture. It gets better. You'll see it come clearer in your mind.

Low tide sand. Yards of it. I'm walking in the dark, walking towards Jupiter and Venus. They're high above the last pink smudge of sunset, the brightest things in the sky. Brighter than the flashing, pulsing pier, brighter than the planes that tilt towards Gatwick. Everything looks pale in comparison to the brilliant planets that look down on us. And this is the most wonderful feeling, to be walking free from a shadow and a reflection, to be walking without making a sound.

Someone is calling an invisible dog. I hear small feet skittering as they run on stones, but see nothing where the sound leads me to look.

I walk out to the spot where sand goes under, the place where the spill of stones reaches out further, where the night beach falls away into the rake and tussle of weight and shift. I look for Mercury as I head back home, but don't know where to start looking. The sky feels huge against a cliff of town that looms above black hills of stones. I'm too early for Saturn, which rises later in the east, but Mars is rising behind and above me, a red eye watching my back.

Fire poi roar into life. Burning Os spin against black screens of night, an orange pen doodles over the same shape. Held in the stone O of the banjo groyne, it's the perfect stage for his sky drama, messages sent from castle walls in the hope that someone is keeping watch.

From 93 steps up, it looks like someone juggles with fireballs and never lets one drop.