‘Bard’ pens tribute to beauty of our skies

Radio 1 presenter Ras Kwame(left) with the bard of Barnsley and presenter of The Verb on BBC Radio 3, poet Ian MacMillan,  at a briefing night for The Street youth centre, at Westwood Theatre, in Scarborough tonight.  picture by Andrew Higgins  111743c   28/04/11
Radio 1 presenter Ras Kwame(left) with the bard of Barnsley and presenter of The Verb on BBC Radio 3, poet Ian MacMillan, at a briefing night for The Street youth centre, at Westwood Theatre, in Scarborough tonight. picture by Andrew Higgins 111743c 28/04/11

An ode to the Yorkshire’s night sky has been released as more events are added to the county’s largest celebration of all-things-celestial.

The week-long Dark Skies Festival coincides with half term, from Saturday February 18 to Sunday February 26.

It will see more than 100 events being held across 21 different locations within the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

The programme is virtually finalised and includes:

l Boggle Hole YHA running Moon Explorer events, open telescope sessions and a deck chair space-themed cinema night

l Celestial exploring sessions run by Hidden Horizons at Ravenscar

l Ghost walks at Robin Hood’s Bay

Poet Ian McMillan was commissioned by both National Park Authorities to write a tribute to the beauty of Yorkshire’s night skies.

The Bard of Barnsley’s new verse reads:

The Darker The Sky

A poem for the National Parks and their Dark Skies Festival

In praise of darker skies and lighter thinking

The darker the sky, the more you can see;

The blacker the night, the brighter the Moon,

The dimmer the streets, the stronger the glow

The deeper the shade, the lighter the view.

The map of the heavens, the time and the space

The distance they travel, the cities of stars,

The trail of a comet, the satellite’s stroll

The football of Venus, the beach ball of Mars.

The blindness of headlights, the dazzling fire

The hint of a sunrise, the dawn’s subtle kiss,

The straining of tired eyes, the lamp in the face

The struggle to notice, the sights we all miss.

The hope for the future: the sky’s welcome gleam,

The Milky Way’s jewels, the meteor’s trail,

The old constellations, the space-station’s glint.

The inky sea’s waiting; the night boat sets sail!

Visit www.darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk for information and booking details for the packed programme of events at the Dark Skies Festival.