Monday, December 15, 2008

Man & Star ~ Shel Silverstein & Alpheratz

Here's a fun poem, astrologically suspect, but never mind! It was written by multi-talented Shel Silverstein, about whom more follows.

The Man Who Got No Sign

Well, there was Gemini Jim and Scorpio Sal,
And they were living by the Golden Gate.
Freezing their nose
And wearing leather clothes
And dealing every way but straight.
They had a Leo dog and a Capricorn cat,
And everything was going fine.
Until, into their life,
On a moonless night,
Come the man
Who got no sign.

He roared right in
Like some evil wind
And he rolled himself a righteous smoke.
And as the thunder crashed,
And the lightning flashed
He took a toke
And spoke...
He said he was born in an astrological warp,
When the stars refused to shine.
On the cusp of nowhere and nevermore:
He's the man that got no sign.

So he told a story of an endless search
To find his missing part.
But Scorpio Sal, she just smiled at him, and
Tried to do his chart.
But Pisces Ben, who was Jim's best friend,
Said, " must be blind.
You better grab your knife,
And take the life
Of that man
What got no sign."

And so, it happened...
And his blood ran...
Soaked the ground...

The arrest was made by Sheriff Slade,
An Aquarius through and through.
But the jailer was a Sagittarius
And he beat Jim black and blue,
And as they dragged him up the courthouse stairs,
They said, "Jim, how do you plead?"
Jim said, "Man, the moon's in Virgo, so
Blame no fault on me!"

Well, the jury all was Libras,
So you know they were more than fair,
But his lawyer was Aries,
And an Aries just don't care.
And the judge, he was a Cancer,
And a Cancer's got no friends.
But the hangman
Was a Taurus,
And that's where
The circle

A couple of commenters on my post about John Lennon (7 December) used the term "Renaissance Man" to describe John, due to his varied talents (see also last paragraph of this post).

While Renaissance Men in the true sense of the word (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci) don't exist anymore, some well known individuals exhibit characterisitics of what I'll call Renaissance Man-lite. Shel Silverstein was one of that ilk. Poet, songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books (including "The Giving Tree", "A Light in the Attic", "Where the Sidewalk Ends"). I was surprised to learn that he wrote Johnny Cash's famous song "A Boy Named Sue", and many others recorded by country stars. "The Unicorn", which seems to have gathered the mistaken reputation of being an Irish song, is one of his, as is Marianne Faithfull's "Ballad of Lucy Jordan". His song "Sylvia's Mother" made Dr. Hook, and lead singer Dennis Locarriere internationally famous. There are numerous other examples. He wrote and drew cartoons regularly for Playboy Magazine, illustrated his own books, and other publications.

Shel Silverstein, born 25 September 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. Died in May 1999.

Extract from biography HERE

"A poet who crossed Ogden Nash's playfulness with Mad Magazine irreverence; a cartoonist who jacked up Dr. Seuss style fantasies with Jules Feiffer's neurotic social relevance; and a folk singer who wrote with the taboo-inducing bite of comic Lenny Bruce. Contradictory and difficult, he was a renowned children's author who was reportedly impatient with children, as well as a shy, private man whose work and image portrayed him as a bearded, shaved head attention-seeking extrovert. As a performer, the raspy, grating voice that so brilliantly underscored the nature of his spoken word pieces made him sound like an undisciplined madman when he sang. However, it was as a songwriter where he arguably made his biggest mark on pop culture. "

"Shy and private" connects to that stellium (cluster of 3 planets) in Cancer - it's a hefty dose of the tendency to shyness and need to withdraw which is often found in folks with this sign prominent in their charts. His Mercury in Virgo, one of its own signs, connects strongly to writing ability and a streak of perfectionism.

I'm not going to try to interpret the whole chart, I'm looking mainly for something special which might relate to his particular brand of versatility and Renaissance-lite.

I'm going for this: at the time he was born, Uranus lay conjunct Fixed Star Alpheratz, also known as Sirrah. This was true for anyone born between (approximately) May 1930 to March 1931. This star's ancient interpretation in general is
"Freedom, love of movement, speed, intellectual and can indicate riches and honors. Strong motivation, willfulness and the ability to take action. Well known, before the public and popularity with the masses; fame. Harmonius nature, good for relationships."
When conjunct Uranus, the inventor, technology, the rebel, the genius, change-bringer, catalyst for humour, the star's interpretation has to be blended with Uranian traits. In mid to late 1930 we can pinpoint some good examples of how the blend can manifest, when all other conditions are suitable:

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins (Buzz Aldrin too, but born a little earlier in January)
Rebellious left-wing British author Harold Pinter
Genius financier Warren Buffet
Computer billionnaire and politician Ross Perot
Another Rennaissance-lite man, Clint Eastwood (actor, director, musician)
and our current subject, Shel Silverstein, quirky and irreverent, socially-relevant Rennaissance-lite man.
James Dean, born February 1931, a rebellious icon if ever there was one, comes into this group too.

I see Shel Silverstein's particular brand of Rennaissance-liteness rooted in the Uranus/Alpheratz conjunction. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

Hey! Here's a thought - if John Lennon were to have been born a little earlier than 6.30 pm (which some say he must have been, because it was 6.30 when his aunt reported the event) birth time of 6.20pm would bring his ascendant conjunct Alpheratz at 14 Aries! Hmmm, that's.....spooky!


R Phoenix said...

Great post Twilight. I used to be friends with a young woman that hung out a lot with Shel in Florida. She said he was a really cool guy.

Do you know of Ken Nordine?

He's a spoken word beat poet, who developed "word jazz." He was also the voice for Folgers Coffee.

He did a piece called, "Zodiac Uprising" from Devout Catalyst on The Grateful Dead's label that I think you would enjoy.

R J Adams said...

I'm not familiar with the name of Shel Silverstein, but reading, "The Man Who Got No Sign," put in in mind of another great poet, Robert Service, who wrote in a similar style. His most famous works were probably, "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", and my personal favorite, "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

"There's strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee."

More here:

Nothing to do with astrology - just great poetry.

Twilight said...

R Phoenix~~ Hi Robert

Thanks for popping in - and for the hint about Ken Nordine. I asked my husband if he knew of him, and he does, knew him immediately and started telling me about one called "My Baby" or something. - He says he has 2 of Ken's LPs. He is "on his bed of pain" now though, having caught the virus from me, and not taking it at all well, so I'll have to wait to have a listen to Ken Nordine, but look forward to it. ;-)

Twilight said...

Hi RJ ~~ Robert Service doesn't ring a bell, but the titles of the poems you mention sound familiar - I shall investigate further - thanks for the information!

Shel Silverstein's stuff reminds me a lot of Ogden Nash, whose writing I love.

Dunno why but William McGonagle just popped into my head - the world's worst poet...LOL!

Beautiful Moon, with thy silvery light,
Thou seemest most charming to my sight;
As I gaze upon thee in the sky so high,
A tear of joy does moisten mine eye.

Beautiful Moon, with thy silvery light,
Thou cheerest the Esquimau in the night;
For thou lettest him see to harpoon the fish,
And with them he makes a dainty dish.

Oh dear!!

R J Adams said...

William McGonagle? Oh dear, indeed. I have a favorite video of Billy Connelly standing in a howling blizzard, reciting McGonagle's ode, "The Tay Bridge Disaster."

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time......"

The poem's so bad, it's good, and of course, Connelly does it brilliantly.

Twilight said...

ROF! I can imagine Billy had a ball with that one, yes RJ! :-D