Category Archives: see

Mars

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under explore, see

Ode to the Moon of the Sea

Image

But when
I reach
the sea,
you seem
a different moon,
white,
moist
and cool
as
a
filly
frolicking
in the dew,
youthful
as a pearl
diaphanous
as a siren’s
brow.

Moon
of the sea,
each night
you wash yourself
and wake
misted
by eternal dawn,
wed ceaselessly
with sky, with air,
with sea wind,
gradually
expelled
by the rhythmic
contractions of the tide,
clean as
fingernails
in ocean
brine.

Excerpt from “Ode to the Moon of the Sea” by Pablo Neruda found in:
Neruda, Pablo. Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda. Trans. Margaret Sayers Peden. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Photo from the Chicago Astronomer Full Moon Rise Party at the Adler Planetarium. 08/01/2012.

***
This summer has been overflowing with astronomical inspiration!  From the Transit of Venus to the landing of the Curiosity Rover (and a few moon and star parties thrown in for good measure!), I have experienced more celestial wonders than I would have thought possible in such a large city.  While I am not looking forward to the cold months ahead, the extra darkness and clear skies of winter will hopefully facilitate even more encounters with the empyrean kind.

In addition to all of the exciting space events of the present, this summer was also a commemoration of the men and women who helped pioneer space exploration off the ground.  The world also said goodbye to both the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, and the first man to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong.  One of the most successful space missions of all time, the Voyager spacecraft, celebrated its 35th anniversary as the still operational explorers prepared to leave our solar system.  

In the last week of summer, I return to this tiny corner of the web with a full heart and expectant mind.  

Leave a comment

Filed under explore, remember, see

Odette

Moon as photographed from space by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

 
you have been the apple of our eye
oh near and naked neighbor

we have taken your dappled visage
as testament to the fluke heartbreaks
of gravity and fate

we have mapped each dusty poc,
for each crater is a passionate concession
of two rocks meeting

we’ve echoed your concave ripples
with our own silent rings of battle-

darkening eyes
circling fingers
stretching bellies-

for all generations we have watched you
dress and undress shining scars

and we see no evidence of love,
only the collision of two bodies.

Swann's Odette (detail from The Trials of Moses, Sandro Botticelli, 1481-1482)

First image found in
Mitton, Jacqueline. Cambridge Illustrated Dictionary of Astronomy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. p. 233.

Second image found in
Karpeles, Eric. Paintings in Proust. London: Thames & Hudson, 2008. p. 50.

Leave a comment

Filed under explore, see

For the Conjunction of Two Planets

Jupiter and Venus Conjunction. Image credit Kevin Jung.

We smile at astrological hopes
And leave the sky to expert men
Who do not reckon horoscopes
But painfully extend their ken
In mathematical debate
With slide and photographic plate.

And yet, protest it if we will,
Some corner of the mind retains
The medieval man, who still
Keeps watch upon those starry skeins
And drives us out of doors at night
To gaze at anagrams of light.

Whatever register or law
Is drawn in digits for these two,
Venus and Jupiter keep their awe,
Wardens of brilliance, as they do
Their dual circuit of the west-
The brightest planet and her guest.

Is any light so proudly thrust
From darkness on our lifted faces
A sign of something we can trust,
Or is it that in starry places
We see things we long to see
In fiery iconography?

Rich, Adrienne. Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970. New York: Norton, 1993. p. 54.

Photo found on this great site.

***

The conjunction of Jupiter and Venus was the brightest it has been in the Chicago sky for years.  The viewing of such a beautiful astronomical event in my adopted metropolis was an almost sacred experience for me, transporting me from my urban prison to the wild, rolling hills locked deep in my memory.

1 Comment

Filed under remember, see

Billions and billions

Not a poem, but one of the most beautiful sights in this cosmos.

Cox Reading Sagan

Dreamboat reading the words of a dreamboat.

Leave a comment

Filed under see

The Stars.

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun
Restored our Earth to joy,
Have you departed, every one,
And left a desert sky?

All through the night, your glorious eyes
Were gazing down in mine,
And, with a full heart’s thankful sighs,
I blessed that watch divine.

I was at peace, and drank your beams
As they were life to me;
And revelled in my changeful dreams,
Like petrel on the sea.

Thought followed thought, star followed star,
Through boundless regions, on;
While one sweet influence, near and far,
Thrilled through and proved us one!

Why did the morning dawn to break
So great, so pure, a spell;
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,
Where your cool radiance fell?

Blood-red, he rose, and arrow-straight,
His fierce beams struck my brow;
The soul of nature sprang, elate,
But mine sank sad and low!

My lids closed down, yet through their veil
I saw him, blazing still,
And steep in gold the misty dale,
And flash upon the hill.

I turned me to the pillow, then,
To call back night, and see
Your worlds of solemn light, again,
Throb with my heart, and me!

It would not do- the pillow glowed,
And glowed both roof and floor;
And birds sang loudly in the wood,
And fresh winds shook the door;

The curtains waved, the wakened flies
Were murmuring round my room,
Imprisoned there, till I should rise,
And give them leave to roam.

Oh, stars, and dreams, and gentle night;
Oh, night and stars, return!
And hide me from the hostile light
That does not warm, but burn;

That drains the blood of suffering men;
Drinks tears instead of dew;
Let me sleep through his blinding reign,
And only wake with you!

Bronte, Emily. Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell with Cottage Poems by Patrick Bronte.  From The Works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte in Twelve Volumes, Volume 8.  London: J.M. Dent and Company, 1893. pp 79-81.

Gezari, Janet. Last Things: Emily Bronte’s Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp 29-30.

*A great blog on all things Bronte here

Leave a comment

Filed under dream, see

Star-Swirls

Roberts, Isaac. Taken from his photograph of the Great Nebula in Andromeda, December 29, 1888.

The polar ice-caps are melting, the mountain glaciers
Drip into rivers; all feed the ocean;
Tides ebb and flow, but every year a little bit higher.
They will drown New York, they will drown London.
And this place, where I have planted trees and built a stone house,
Will be under sea. The poor trees will perish.
And little fish will flicker in and out the windows. I built it well,
Thick walls and Portland cement and gray granite,
The tower at least will hold against the sea’s buffeting; it will become
Geological, fossil and permanent.
What a pleasure it is to mix one’s mind with the geological
Time, or with astronomical relax it.
There is nothing like astronomy to pull the stuff out of man.
His stupid dreams and red-rooster importance: let him count the star-swirls.

Jeffers, Robinson. The Beginning and the End. New York: Random House, 1963. p. 18.

Image found in
Ball, Sir Robert S., Star-Land. London, Cassel and Co, 1892. p. 341, Fig. 88.

More information about Isaac Roberts here.

1 Comment

Filed under see