(after Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird)
Among the panoply of stars
The only moving thing
Was the mind of the astronaut.
I was of three minds
As at first sight of a space-station
Crewed by two astronauts.
The astronaut tumbled slowly in the void beyond Earth.
She was the foreground to a cosmic pantomime.
Below, the lands and the seas and the clouds
The lands and the seas and the clouds and the astronaut
I do not know which to prefer,
The volumetrics of the Tuscan column,
Or the voluptuousness of the dirigible,
The astronaut’s igniting propulsion unit
Or just after.
The Earth filled the impenetrable visor
With its sea-shepherd blue.
The reflection of the astronaut
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the reflection’s antumbra
An unfathomable cause.
O ignorant and rapacious men destroying forests
In the Amazon, smudging archipelagos in Asia.
Why do you imagine golden locusts shall fill your coffers?
Do you not see the astronaut
On bended knees observing your desecrations.
I know the beauty of symmetry in equations
And lucidity in columns of algorithms;
But I know, also,
That the astronaut is involved
In what I know.
When the Earth vectored out of sight
The astronaut became the pale
Marking the latest frontier.
At the sight of the astronaut
Brightling in the feint blue light,
Even the epics of Homer
Would recede to nursery tales.
The astronaut slowly cartwheeled over continents
In her space-shroud.
Once, a fear pierced her,
In that she mistook
A malfunction in the voice communications
For a loss of pressure.
The light of the world is moving.
The astronaut must be vectoring in space.
It was darkness all day and every day.
It was silent
And it was going to remain silent.
The astronaut suspended
In the royal-jelly of space.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones