Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


Caroline Herschel’s Christmas

Hugh McMillan

  They pitied Caroline Herschel, 
  marked by typhus, 
  but while other girls picked goose bones, 
  dreamed of kissing-boughs, 
  she was in the garden 
  with a 2.2 Newtonian Telescope 
  pointing at the northern part of Monoceros 
  on the midpoint of a line 
  from Procyon to Betelgeuse, 
  where the ionised hydrogen forms 
  a haze of stars 
  that emerge from leaves of sky 
  like pearls. 
  When they wondered if she might 
  be tempted inside 
  for pudding, some society, 
  she demurred, 
  preferring instead 
  to watch the birth of light.