Mapping the Stars of the Enlightenment

by Elizabeth Henderson


Lacaille,

you clip the heavens
in a compass arc

take a sea of monstrous stars
and make an ordered space

for instruments of science, the mind
a place to control the Chaos

of 10,000 suns, transfixed
in the columns of your art,

but find in the darkness
of your heart still lurk

dragons.


Copyright © 2003, Elizabeth Henderson
Circinus, the Drawing Compass

Circinus, the Drawing Compass
by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille


Elizabeth Henderson is a southern poet and astronomer. She thanks her mother for teaching her the stars in the sky, and her father for giving her the moon in a telescope.

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Image courtesy of Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology