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Lay for the Day
17th May

A song about the goddess of love, to commemorate the Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli, who produced, in his Birth of Venus, one of the most enduring images of her. Botticelli – whose given name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi – was born around 1445, the son of a tanner, and died on 17th May 1510.


In a night unstarry,
Stained by city lights,
There is one star shining,
Always shining brighter
For she is nearer
Us than any other
But for Mars.
That star is named for
Fair queen Venus.

So if I’m on the shores of Argentina
Or in some halls of pearl,
If I bed down on the needles of a pinewood,
I’ll see our keepsake winking at me
Like a girl.

Star of dawn and evening,
Symbolising love,
You could hardly miss her,
Low to the horizon
She is smiling on you,
Even when I’m gone
You know she smiles
To see a heart as
Bright as hers is.

So if I’m in that distant land of silver
Where mountain clouds unfurl,
If I kip down in the bend of some old riverbed,
I’ll see our keepsake winking at me
Like a girl.

Since we first from forests
Came to open skies,
Lovers said that this light,
Lesser than the sun and moon
That reign in glory,
Like the heart and mind,
Should be for
Their story that would
Last for ever.

So if I’m carried out beyond returning,
Where ocean waters swirl,
If I land upon the rocky shore of nowhere,
I’ll see our keepsake winking at me
Like a girl.


Words and music by The Children


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar