Across the Universe

In a gesture that embodies the spirit of the Voyager project in a very real and wonderful way, Grant from the Guild of Scientific Troubadours has written a song called "Golden Record" in response to my poem "Barnard's Star." I've reprinted the poem below, so you can read it and then go check out the song.

Barnard's Star

after Ann Druyan

I send for you my heartbeat,
the rhythms of my latest dream.
You are just now finding the frozen clicks
of muscles, cooling like just-parked cars.
Through endless fields of fire and dust,
we send whale song, one noisy kiss.

Every other romance
is nothingness now, every whale
a great cage of bone and blue air.
But fast to you, bright Ophiuchus,
one whispered love is dancing.


Minor Arcana

Commuter tips her head to drop
the wide hood of her raincoat.

This morning, after the storm,
each shrub's a sacrament.

Rows of emerald goblets brim
with silver offerings.

The bare-browed queen of cups
pauses by the laurel, trails

a loving fingertip
through bowls of cool, wet light.

photograph by Edward Weston


To the God of Rocks

"Not for man, but for the bee, the moth, and the butterfly, are orchids where they are and what they are."

Neltje Blanchan, from Wild Flowers Worth Knowing, 1917

Then what are we to think
of the hapless geode? Why ever line
the stone’s stomach
with glittering, secret cities? What benign purpose
could these skylines possibly serve?

For a full stone age you sat idly by
as the peacocks bickered
on Olympus. Some glint
of their meddlesome eyes
must have bounced across the clouds.

And your poor geode would have slept--
cozy in his earthen nest—had you
not betrayed him. With a shameless brush
you tarred heartless stars
into his good gray skin.

And now the peacocks’ playthings
pluck your sparkling plum from the dust.
They gather with growing fists. Suspect his shine.
They chant for an answer. Smash him
to shards.

photograph by flickr user EDF Andromeda

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