R.I.P Adrienne Rich

Planetarium

Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750—1848)
astronomer, sister of William; and others.

A woman in the shape of a monster
a monster in the shape of a woman
the skies are full of them
a woman      ‘in the snow
among the Clocks and instruments
or measuring the ground with poles’
in her 98 years to discover
8 comets
she whom the moon ruled
like us
levitating into the night sky
riding the polished lenses
Galaxies of women, there
doing penance for impetuousness
ribs chilled
in those spaces    of the mind
An eye,
          ‘virile, precise and absolutely certain’
          from the mad webs of Uranusborg
                                                            encountering the NOVA
every impulse of light exploding
from the core
as life flies out of us
             Tycho whispering at last
             ‘Let me not seem to have lived in vain’
What we see, we see
and seeing is changing
the light that shrivels a mountain
and leaves a man alive
Heartbeat of the pulsar
heart sweating through my body
The radio impulse
pouring in from Taurus
         I am bombarded yet         I stand
I have been standing all my life in the
direct path of a battery of signals
the most accurately transmitted most
untranslatable language in the universe
I am a galactic cloud so deep      so invo-
luted that a light wave could take 15
years to travel through me       And has
taken      I am an instrument in the shape
of a woman trying to translate pulsations
into images    for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind.
One of my favourite poems (about another favourite person) by one of my all time favourite poets who passed away last week. If you’re not familiar with her work then I strongly suggest you familiarise yourself quick smart, she was very special.  RIP Adrienne.
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