Saturday, May 15, 2010
The Astronomer Poet
But it doesn’t have to be that way. As I mellowed with age, I learned to appreciate the finer, less objective areas of study. That is why I particularly enjoyed finding Robert Eklund’s website for his book of astro-poems and short essays – “First Star I See Tonight – An Exploration of Wonder.”
Bob proves to me that a science enthusiast (he is a docent at the Mt. Wilson Observatory) also can be sensitive and soul-reaching with his prose. Take the following poem for example that Bob graciously allowed me to reproduce for the SLB. “That poem, ‘First Star,’ is a very special one to me and I use it as the frontispiece in the book. I wrote it in Boulder, Colorado in 1960 for my mother just before she passed on. The ‘mountains’ referred to there are the front range of the Rockies, at the edge of Boulder,” says Eklund about his motivation for the piece.
The evening burns,
The dark earth turns,
The mountains loom against the sky;
One star looks down
To bless the town,
While sunset clouds sail grandly by.
And if the light
Of noon's delight
Moves on, and leaves us where we are,
The darkest night
But aids our sight—
The better to reveal the star.
— Robert L. Eklund
I believe that a coupling of science and the arts is a pleasing example of complementary disciplines and enjoying astronomy motivated poems like Bob’s can assuage attitudes sometimes associated with the hard sciences.