by Joe Andriano
Similes for the Beginning
Do the Stars Matter?
Similes for the Beginning
(first published in Argonaut 15 (Summer 1991): 50)
Universe dilates like an eye
like an iris around a pupil
Black Hole is there, we know,
like a pupil, contracting.
Protons cooked to helium
and cosmos now the skin
of a balloon, they say.
"So?" my little boy replies
to these annoying analogies
I use to tuck him in.
"So if we're all inside a Big
Helium Baloon why don't our
voices go funny?"
They do, I say, now go to sleep.
|Do the Stars Matter?|
I wish the stars still mattered
I don't mean as soothsayers
I just wish it could be made perfectly clear
that all galaxies won't drift away to no density
and that our destiny depended on it. We
really have nothing to do with their vast eons, do we?
Our eyes blink, mere fireflies, next to the endurance of a star.
Maybe cosmos would matter more to us if we could traverse
the light-years, or return from a star-journey still young,
or even if, like the lucky few, we all could understand the math
that plots unthinkable curves of universe.
I want to see my soul in the quasar
my heart in the pulsar
Quasar gives off light, pulsar thobs,
but that soul, that heart, I do not think
they're mine, even in part.
No, I've studied the stars, an amateur,
just in case eternity is not the null set or
the void. When I am light in the boundless dome
I will know my way, I will feel at home.
I still prefer a window-seat,
I like to look and be a boy again
amid humbling roar of engine
in daylight peering down, tracing forest patterns
along paths of ancient rivers.
Once upon a long nightflight
I fell asleep amid cabin cones of light
and flight attendants pacing to and fro,
only to wake to total dark, my first sight
the stars, the night all black stark and moonless,
I sat with Leo the lion in the sky
thought for just one moment I was
interplanetary, bound for Mars to find more
ancient rivers, bound yet boundless, floating thrilled,
till I woke to the real, a sleeping stranger next to me.
To unaided eye
the fuzzy patch
is a test of sight
can only be seen
when moon is new
and eyes can pierce
But in the scope
it's alive, a swarm
of stars albino bees?
a hive of light or halo
of angels around a god
drowned in its own pool?
What's it to me to you
out here away from the core?
we cannot cluster without war
gravity does not draw us in
as it has those ancient stars.
Time now to confess that
on a dark moonless night
to impress Suzanne Yvonne
I stated the names of all the bright
stars and every major constellation.
I remember the night so clear I could see
the scorpion hook its stinger on a dark horizon tree.
As we walked I asked Suzanne Yvonne,
Can you make out the scorpion?
I don't see it, she said
Look at the red star I said
the heart of the Scorpion.
If you can't see the scorpion
you'll never see the lion
or the lyre. All she saw was starry scatter
and I thought well what does it really matter
it was just the Greeks' imagination.
She asked Isn't the red star Mars?
No, it's Antares.
She laughed. Opposite of Mars!
Star of Peace. --No, She's a Titan,
who once had planets, her children,
but dilating from dwarf to Red Giant
devoured them all.
It's pretty, said Suzanne Yvonne.
She wasn't wrong.
the oldest stars are there
in that sinkhole that stretches time
from ball to string ~
lifespans so much longer there
at least to us out here
far from the bottomless well
it is there our childrens great
great great grandchildren will go
in ships so fast they stretch out their lives
to meet the Old Ones.
as for us here now
we can only look on
a moonless night toward the Archer
at his milk-dipper
the oldest stars were there