AD ASTRA (© Words and music by Paul F. Cowlan)

These are very old lyrics, written in 1974 as part of a longer sequence. The woman’s name was Madeline. She was a potter, and she made me a large Greek-style amphora, which I still have. The arrangement is new, with a spacey quotation from an earlier song of mine ‘Making Waves’. (From ‘Walking to the Moon’ (1995).

Earth is turning in a dream of darkness
broken by the gleam of sunlight,
distant though it seems to be.
And like a bubble in the air
it is as frail as it is fair.
In distant, dark milleniums
where will all this beauty be?

Though my life is measured by
the gathered years I can defy,
and I am nothing in the eye of Time;
yet I have squandered day on day,
devising words that I could say
to make you understand the way
that you have stolen me.

If you want to keep yourself in view
these are things that you should never do.

Never look beyond a smile, you could find a sigh.
Never question laughter, let the matter lie.
Never look to closely if your eyes are dry.
Never ask a question needing no reply.

If you dig too deep then you may see
that no-one is as free as they might like to be,
nor as careless as they planned.

Love is turning in a dream of darkness
broken by the gleam of hope
as distant as it seems to be.
And Beauty’s bubble is of air,
it is as frail as it is fair.
In distant, dark milleniums
where will all your beauty be?