stars are twinkling

The Stars are Twinkling

This poem appeared in all four of the major collections: 1878, 1886, 1888 and 1892. In his biography of Skipsey, Spence Watson writes of this poem:

The knowledge and real meaning of the life, and the hidden meaning and the character of the work, lending itself not to fear but frequently to depression, is admirably shown.

The stars are twinkling in the sky,

As to the pit I go;

I think not of the sheen on high,

But of the gloom below.

Not rest or peace, but toil and strife,

Do there the soul enthral;

And turn the precious cup of life

Into a cup of gall.

It's probably a bit of a cliche, but I hope it works. The tune is in a major key, to describe the apparently tranquil scene of the stars in the sky, but moves to a minor in the last line of verse two, when the real meaning becomes clear.

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