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They say we have woken
From a long night of magic,
Of cravings,
Fire for fire, earth for earth.
A wind springs up.
The birds stir in the dovecotes.
It is so clear in this cold light
That the firmament turns without music,
That when the stars forge
The atoms of our being
No smith sweats in the labour.

Day dawns.
The chill of reason seeps
Into the bones of matter
But matter is unknowing.
Mathematics sinks its perfect teeth
Into the flesh of space
But space is unfeeling.

Rebecca Elson, Ph.D. (1960-1999) was a Canadian-American astronomer and poet. Her research at Princeton and Cambridge focused on star clusters and galaxy formation, including 70 published contributions....