A Surveyor’s Mythology

A Surveyor’s Mythology
I claim the stars high in your heaven, Zeus.
Cassiopeia’s chair, Orion’s faithful hound.
Arcturus, Leda’s twins, and Betelgeuse,
Are trusted friends, and to my service bound.
And when your fabled heaven still excites
To stirring odes, that reach for the sublime.
The silent splendor of your cloudless nights
Give me direction, latitude and time.

For me, Selene holds no secrets, Zeus.
I am familiar with your daughter’s changing mood.
The measured distance from her silver shoes
I use for the elusive longitude.
Your father Cronus long ago was sent,
To count the fleeting seconds that slip by,
When the rotation of the firmament,
Parades your stars ‘cross my observing eye.

Apollo’s days are my companions, Zeus.
I broke the secret code that governs their design.
Hyperion’s golden wagon pays me dues,
And gives me the direction of my line.
And when Astraeus’s winds obscure with clouds
His guiding lights, this does not tie my hand.
The voice of manmade stars to me now shouts:
"Here am I, master, signal your command."

I leave you high on your Olympus, Zeus
To rule reluctant gods, down here I govern still.
Your golden days, your silver nights I use
To bend your constellations to my will.
Your storied heaven, Hesiod’s delight,
On which Urania has cast her spell,
And all your ever wand’ring points of light
They are my servants, Zeus, and serve me well.

About the Author

Fred Roeder, LS

Fred Roeder lives in Tularosa, New Mexico. He emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1957 and spent most of his surveying career in the Southwest, working for the U.S. Forest Service. Now retired, he started writing a regular column for the New Mexico Professional Surveyors Newsletter in 1988. In 1994, NMPS produced Antepasados, a book of his columns. Many surveyors are good writers, especially about technical or legal matters. However, it's not often that we find a surveyor/story-teller who can present historical facts in a manner that makes them fun to read. Fred Roeder is such a writer and we are pleased to present more than 80 of his stories here. Bibliography is a list of the books Fred used in his writings, and includes a numbered index of the articles. Index is a list of all the articles Fred has written and when. Editor's pick: The King Who Had No Title
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