Thursday, March 27, 2014

Women's History -- celebrate Caroline Herschel

     In the sixties when I spent a year at Bucknell University, I was a member of the "Department of Astronomy and Mathematics," a pairing of related disciplines. In past centuries, Mathematics was included in the liberal arts. In the twenty-first century often it is paired with Computer Science, and Astronomy is paired with Physics.  And so it goes.
      Poems by Laura Long tell of the pioneering work by astronomer Caroline Herschel -- a discoverer of eight comets, a cataloger of stars.  Long describes her recent collection,  The Eye of Caroline Herschel:  A Life in Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2013), in this way:      
                  This is a work of the imagination steeped in historical siftings 
                         and the breath between the lines.  
Here is the opening poem:  

     Caroline Talks Back to the Poets     by Laura Long

     The poet can sing to a lone bright star,
     but we astronomers look at all of them

     and the shining nebulosity between.
     We sweep to plot a map of every point and blur

     of light, and calculate the dance of three
     thousand, none quite alike. Poets, attend to

     the river of milk braiding and unbraiding its hair,
     there is no one love and no one

     fate.  We are drops in a luminosity,
     a silent roar of hearts opening in the dark.

Long invites interested persons to contact her for a review copy of The Eye of Caroline Herschel.


  1. Thanks for posting Laura Long’s wonderful opening poem from her Caroline Herschel collection! Caroline has contributed not only to scientific progress but also to fine poetry.

    1. Mark--
      So glad you stopped by. I appreciate also your taking time to comment.