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The Draconids

draco

FOR NORAH

And especially were we led to cultivate that discipline developed in respect to divine and heavenly things as being the only one concerned with the study of things which are always what they are…
– Ptolemy, Preface to The Almagest

My daughter’s eyes dissolve in tears that turn
Her irises to violent shades of plum.
There’s not a single star to which she’s born
But romance has its seasons – some that come
With flowers, some to desolate the heart:
For heaven knows what breaks it, either whole or part.

Perhaps she feels her orbit tilts askew,
A teen-aged Pluto – distant, unobtained…
She casts her face against the residue
Of evening light – the setting sun has gained
It’s nadir. Soon the light that sets is lost;
The sky turns dark like velvet smirched with quartzose dust.

I vanquish pedantry’s old urge and bring
My daughter out beyond the pasture wire
Where thirsty cattle crowd around a spring
Of fresh discovery. We look and stare,
Our imaginations fixed as hooves in mud
And ruminate on stars as Guernseys, grain and cud.

Thus, constellations, clusters, nebulae
Offers more than a comet’s passing peace;
Consummate wonder weaves its fabulae
Of squibs from Northern Star to Southern Cross –
And counting up, my daughter can’t recall
An integer so wholly astronomical.

Resisting words, I let night speak – or sing –
For itself, spreading starry charts before
The autumn equinox which waits to spring
October’s Draconids across the door
And sill of space, showering eternity
With falling fire at tears’ escape velocity.

Returning through the fields, my daughter stopped
To watch as deicidal Draco squirms
In polar transit. Once, Athena stripped
The worm of tooth and claw, and now he warms
His artic blood by sloughing skin for flame
(Recurring fall to fall, his scales retain his name).

Beneath this snaking string of pearls, I pray
My daughter finds each star a widow’s mite –
Beyond our reach but held within the play
Of waxing grace, a shepherd satellite
That casts its shadow on the human soul,
And governs gravity with love’s more buoyant pull.

Comments

  1. Beautiful. It makes me homesick for the cold Wisconsin air and for cows.
    And for all of you as well.

  2. Max posted one of your other pieces on FB with a nice homage. Nice to see you sir. Hope all is well and your woodpile is well stocked.

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