The Major Magnitudes’ Song

From my brother Ted Reynolds’ blog Poetry and Beyond, Feb. 5, 2013:

The “Navigational Stars” comprise the 59 brightest stars in the heavens.  Taking inspiration from Tom Lehrer’s “Element Song,” I hereby enumerate them for you, also to the tune of “The Major General’s Song”  from The Pirates of Penzance.  Do not ask me to sing it myself; I am not remotely capable of that.  But if you think you can hum along with it, be my guest.

By the way, I have one-upped Lehrer in one (and probably only one) respect – my listing is, rather raggedly, alphabetical!

There’s Alnilam and Alpheratz and Alphecca and Acamar
And Atria and Alioth and Adhara and Achernar
And Avior, Aldeberan, Acrux, Alphard, Ankaa,  Al’Nair,
Antares, Kaus Australis, Alkaid, Arcturus and Altair.

I find I have to waste a line, although I’ve only got through “A” –
There’s Bellatrix and Betelgeuse and Canopus and Capella
And Deneb, Denebola, Dubhe, Enif, Eltanin, Diphda
And Elnath, Gacrux, Hadar, Hamal, Fomalhaut and Gienah.

There’s Kochab, Markab, Menkar, Menkent, Mirfak, Miaplacidus,
Nunki, Polaris, Peacock, Pollux, Procyon, Rigel, Regulus
And Raselhague and Sabik, Schedar, Shaula, Suhail, Sirius,
And Spica, Vega, Zubenelgenubi, Rigel Kentaurus.

These are the brightest stars with which our midnight sky is vaguely strewed;
And there are many more, but they are less than the third magnitude.

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About Jessica Renshaw

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