Vega is the fifth brightest star in the sky, a brilliant blue-white star two and a half times larger than the sun. It takes turns with Polaris and Thuban as the pole star, and will be the nearest star to the celestial north pole again in 14 000 AD.
Standing its ground on the hill, as if it could hide
in its own stars, low down in the west of the sky.
I could hit it from here with a stone, put the torch
in the far back of its eye. It’s that close.
The next night, the dustbin sacked, the bin-bag
quartered for dog meat, biscuit and bone.
The night after that, six magpies lifting
from fox fur, smeared up ahead on the road.
For the image at the top, click here.
I have been intrigued for some time by a bit of lore that I’ve run across on several websites, without any credit given. It connects the Norse goddess Skadi and magpies, and makes several rather large claims about a “magpie clan” and a priestesshood, and it usually runs something like this: