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Planetarium Analysis

Author: poem of Adrienne Rich Type: poem Views: 47

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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.


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