The following poem was posted on one of the Talk Board pages for our Zooniverse project, Star Notes. Jean Laurie was kind enough to allow us to post her poem here.
Harvard Ladies Order Stars
For Williamina Fleming
From Argentina come stars packed in wooden crates,
minute gleams, silver trails of hydrogen
snapped and trapped in glass plates;
each one pulses a song in its own idiom.
The gravity of the task engraved in copperplate
records of luminescence, acute angles, time lapse.
Fog and full moons are the enemy, frustrate
discerned shapes,- gases, tangled spiral galaxies, gaps.
The ladies catalogue skies, annotate,
weave a web of numbers to curate the past,
calculate the brilliance, each atom vibrates
on harmonious wavelengths, data cached.
Ordering objects of interest sparks rumination.
How selfish to think we are the only ones
who yearn to satisfy our fascination,
conscious of this universe and the ones beyond.
All the stars are dashing away from us,
lifted from logbooks of fading slides
and telescoped images, foxed and nebulous.
Blink on a tear, so much eludes the eye.