Lines by Heart: My Star by Robert Browning
Today's Lines by Heart reading is brought to us by Head of Teaching and Learning at The Reader, Dr. Clare Ellis. Clare recites My Star by Robert Browning. The theme for our readings in February is 'Close to the Heart' and we hope the poetry, readings and recommendations we have chosen can help us stay connected over the coming weeks. Join in the conversation online using #SharedReading @thereaderorg on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Certain poems stay with us, and ‘My Star’ has been one of those for me, although I have never tried to commit it to memory until our wonderful Lines by Heart post gave me the opportunity to do so.
So, why this one?
Well, I love its clarity and confidence of vision – its declaration of love for the one thing that it has found in the world and believes in. And I love the fact that the poem recognises that such a thing may be very different for all of us – the ‘My Star’ is personal, unique, and also not fully explainable. But the connection, the feeling of connection, is perhaps the universal bit, the bit that is shared regardless of object once we have found that something special in our lives?
What was it like trying to remember it?
Well, harder than I thought and I gained a deeper appreciation of some of its words and feelings along the way – such as the word ‘dartles’ and the idea that the star had ‘opened its soul to me’. I think I first substituted ‘dartles’ for ‘shines’ and ‘soul’ for ‘world’ when I was first trying to learn this poem by heard. I feel glad to have taken a closer look now – especially seeing the ‘soul’ bit, which for some reason feels so much more than a world?
Anyway, here is the poem – hope you have fun learning this one by heart and thinking about what your star might be.
All that I know
Of a certain star,
Is, it can throw
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue,
Till my friends have said
They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!
Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?
Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.