Celestial Mechanics and the I
For L.K.

My hearing's not so great; sight's lost its edge.
I just make out the rider on her horse
With my good eye. My run's a bet I hedge
With other bets, being almost round the course.

But where, exactly, as in lilac time,
Its orbit calculable as a moon's,
The comet comes from nowhere to outshine
The very galaxy ... from our bedroom,

We watch it nightly now, filling the North
Star's neighborhood with faint light. To what gloom
Does it return? Bathing some obscure earth
During the sunward fall and swinging home

With blind and mindless beauty, as unfree
As are the watchers of its icy fire,
It moves august, a certain gravity
Reflected in its bearing. We aspire

To understandingwithout breaking up
We'd like to shine, witness our coming round
To fullness. Comes soon enough our full stop,
Wind whispering its light, without a sound.

March 23, 1996

Note: Comet Hyakutake first appeared to the naked eye in March of 1996, in the Big Dipper, in whose handle the paired stars Mizar and Alcor, sometimes called "The Horse and Rider," may be seen. Alcor, the "Rider," is very faint.


Poems by Jamie Irons:

On Hearing, But Not Seeing, a Cardinal
A Second Reading of The Book of Tea
Celestial Mechanics and the I
Mowing the Field, I Spare Convolvulus,
Blue-Eyed Grass, Wild Iris, Wild Hyacinth
Spring Equinox Spent at Planned Parenthood
Fourteen Lines for Elijah by the Sea
Motion in Three-Space, Motion in the Plane
Beautiful River
Finding the Complex Roots of Unity
After the Shipwreck, Crawling Back to You
The Calculus of Variation Holds

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets