Eight Minutes Out

In the spirit of ongoing gratitude, I’m sharing with you a poem from my latest collection, The Boxer of Quirinal, as well as my personal reflection on the poem.

Just as Emily Dickinson wrote, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” I hope that this poem takes the top of your head off — metaphorically, of course!

Eight Minutes Out

Like a ringmaster in the center ring
he keeps the planets circling perfectly;
the comets he allows to have their fling
but brings them back precisely on the day;
the asteroids trumpet and kneel on cue
while all the while he sends his radiance
to neighbor stars, across the Milky Way,
and on into the boundless provenance.

Hardly important — even worth noticing,
if a sliver of his bounty, minutes out,
barely 90 million miles away,
should in its last ten feet change anything — 
even if extracting life from light,
a green exception to a winter’s day.

Commentary on Eight Minutes Out

Extracting life from light is a miracle. Chlorophyll has turned the planet green. Without it there would be no plant or animal life. Every feeding chain starts with it — except that some forms of life do not depend on chlorophyll.

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