The Moons of Poesis

Cover design by Gretchen Achilles. Cover art: “Saturn,” from a 1985 mezzotint by the artist Vija Celmins.

When reading poetry I try to think like astronomers. They are a doughty lot, trucking with the unexpected, stalking questions that defy asking.

What I really hope for is something we don’t expect” [John Mather, Goddard Space Flight Center, on what he’s looking forward to studying with the James Webb telescope]… “The [Webb] telescope was built to answer questions we didn’t know we had.” [Klaus Pontoppidan, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute].

(Dennis Overbye, “Webb Telescope Prepares to Ascend, With an Eye Toward Our Origins,” NYTimes, 12-20-21)

“The universe is queerer than we can suppose,” said Arthur Eddington.

I encounter poetry that emits a waveform outside my sensory range. It triggers an attraction-repulsion quandary. Do I try to sharpen my sensors and orbit it to pick up signals? Or do I blow past it and keep prowling for detectible mass and gravity?

I’m currently in orbit around Louise Glück.

… Waveside, beside earth’s edge, / Before the toward-death cartwheel of the sun, / I dreamed I was afraid and through the din / Of birds, the din, the hurricane of parting sedge / Came to the danger lull. / The white weeds, white waves’ white / Scalps dissolve in the obliterating light. / And only I, Shadrach, come back alive and well.

(From “The Inlet,” in “Louise Glück: Poems 1962-2012”)

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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