The Stars of the Darkest Night

Section 4 – All I Wish to Own

The title of The Stars of the Darkest Night is a line from Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather:

But if I had the stars of the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss
For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’

The text is a reference to the novel, Moby Dick. The particular passage, called “Whales in the Stars” relates the pursuit of a whale to an imaginary map of the sky, and the violent possession of the whale to a vision of heaven.

Nor when expandingly lifted by your subject, can you fail to trace out great whales in the starry heavens, and boats in pursuit of them; as when long filled with thoughts of war the Eastern nations saw armies locked in battle among the clouds. Thus at the North have I chased Leviathan round and round the Pole with the revolutions of the bright points that first defined him to me. And beneath the effulgent Antarctic skies I have boarded the Argo-Navis, and joined the chase against the starry Cetus far beyond the utmost stretch of Hydrus and the Flying Fish.

With a frigate’s anchors for my bridle-bitts and fasces of harpoons for spurs, would I could mount that whale and leap the topmost skies, to see whether the fabled heavens with all their countless tents really lie encamped beyond my mortal sight!

The colors in Stars of the Darkest Night are influenced by a NASA image of the Orion Nebula.


The Music Behind All I Wish to Own


Intermezzo in A Major played by Julius Katchen



Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan