A small collection of Solar Eclipse verses:
Didn't the Connecticut Yankee pull this trick in King Arthur's Court?
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.
Fairly upbeat for ancient times:
Nothing is there beyond hope
Nothing that can be sworn impossible
Nothing wonderful, since Zeus,
Father of the Olympians
Made night from mid-day
Hiding the bright sunlight
And sore fear came upon men.
[Perhaps written having seen the eclipse of 6 Apr 648 BC.]
I'd hoped that Shakespeare's poetry chops would have found more than a stain in a solar eclipse.
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud.
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this.
— William Shakespeare
Oh, John, John, John, give it a minute, will you"?
Oh dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse
Without all hope of day!
— John Milton
I suspect George is on to something here. Once you have seen that "darkness at noon" for yourself, you know what he's talking about.
We speak of it [astrology] as an extinct science; yet let but an eclipse of the sun happen, or a comet visit the evening sky, and in a moment we all believe in astrology. In vain do you tell the gazers on such spectacles that a solar eclipse is only the moon acting for the time as a candle-extinguisher to the sun, and give them bits of smoked glass to look through, and draw diagrams on the blackboard to explain it all. They listen composedly, and seem convinced, but in their secret hearts they are saying—“What though you can see it through a glass darkly, and draw it on a blackboard, does that show that it has no moral significance? You can draw a gallows or a guillotine, or write the Ten Commandments on a blackboard, but does that deprive them of meaning?” And so with the comet. No man will believe that the splendid stranger is hurrying through the sky solely on a momentous errand of his own. No! he is plainly signalling, with that flashing sword of his, something of importance to men,—something at all events that, if we could make it out, would be found of huge concern to us.
— George Wilson
Middleton provides a bridge of sorts, an "end to guile," a celebration of "This grace-filled day..." A natural metaphor. And as my friends will tell you, I'm in it for the metaphor.
Eclipse August 21,2017
Once feared as omen from an angry god,
the sun's eclipse gives cause to celebrate.
With passing time we see all things anew.
The sky is blue; the people congregate.
Why is this rare event so powerful?
Perhaps we celebrate an end to guile,
and darkest superstitions of the past,
although for some old fears remain in style.
This grace filled day reminds us of an age,
when all our world was deaf and mute and blind.
And so we cheer because at last we see,
the light returns and life and peace of mind.
Though times are dark the darkness cannot stay,
the universal fire will always burn.
Today I hope the world may see the clue,
to cherish light is what we all must learn.