Bring me my gun, and I`ll shoot that bird dead
That`s what your mammy and pappy once said
The crow on the cradle, what can we do
Ah, this is a thing that I`ll leave up to you
Sang the crow on the cradle.
Sydney Carter, “The Crow On The Cradle”.
And down from there he spies
this little spot of earth that with the sea
is embraced, and begins to despise
this wretched world, and hold it vanity
compared with the true felicity
that is in heaven above. And at the last
down where he was slain, his gaze he cast.
And in himself he laughed at the woe
of those who wept for his death now past:
and damned all our work that follows so
on blind lust, which can never last,
when we should all our heart on heaven cast.
And forth he went, briefly to tell,
where Mercury appointed him to dwell.
Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, Book V, trans. A.S. Kline.
Responsibility dries on the skin like nakedness as the first thing we remember on the lee shore of the Lethe. The silent voice which asks who we are belonged once to the god, and then for many centuries we recognized it as our own. Enslaved to inattention, we are vaguely aware of the crisis of irresponsibility which engulfs us now. We listen in vain for our calling. The earth we tread is sealed. The heavens are curtained by our artificial light. We must wake up, consult a map or an instruction manual, dispel the suspicion we are sleepwalking. Can it be that the tear in the fabric of our journey-commemorative teatowel is irreparable?
How did we never notice before, with the Gemini Sun on our skin, that the tumult of the Acheron was beneath us?
Can we bear the thought that the oasis of difference is a mirage?
This is the beginning of what might be called Southern Hemisphere Miserere Season, from July to November, roughly 4 minutes earlier each day, when the Milky Way is visible in a dark sky between astronomical twilights as a ring around the horizon. (The Northern Hemisphere season is between January and May.) This configuration, exact at the latitude of the declination of the Galactic South Pole, gives the Emu a chance to have a lie down, which is something awesome to see at a location further south such as Apollo Bay on Victoria’s Surf Coast. However, at the latitude of the angle between the planes of the Galaxy and the Solar System, namely approximately 63°, the Emu is a busy bird.
The Emu’s job there is to point East. Country inherited its cardinal directions from the Emu, finding their nocturnal lyricism preferable to the glare of equinoxes over its eternal landmarks.
There is not a moment to lose, if the power of the Emu is to be invoked to get us out of the mess we’re in: the last Kyrie is upon us! Heaven be praised: our dire predicament cannot efface Galactic synchronicities: so let this Emu Moon begin!
The Siberian child staring at the strange figure lying full-length face-down on the sodden turf sees him move, and asks her parents what he is doing. They do not notice any movement. “Come along, quickly,” they urge the child.