Tag Archives: Chicago

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.

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Wings, another respiratory system which allowed us to cross the immensity of space, would not help us.  For if we went to Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, everything we might see there would take on the same aspect as the things we know on Earth.  The only real journey, the only Fountain of Youth, would be to travel not towards new landscapes, but with new eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them can see, or can be; and we can do that with the help of an Elstir, a Vinteuil; with them and their like we can truly fly from star to star.

Proust, Marcel.  The Prisoner.  Trans.  Carol Clark.  Ed. Christopher Prendergast.  London: Allen Lane, 2002.  Vol. 5 of In Search of Lost Time.  6 vols. 1913-27.

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