H O M E T h e   a s t r o n o m y   p o e t r y  p a g e   o f   p s w a l s h . c o m


Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.
- Ptolemy,c.150 AD

The Stars

What is there in the quiet night?
When the stars shine calmly down
And the silent, black etched, stately trees
Stand guard around the town
That makes men's courage rise again
That wakes them up a-new
So that they see beyond this world
With keen and surer view
What is it in that cold white moon?
That wends its' way on high
That draws men's souls from bodies tired
Into the silver sky.
It matters not the day was long
That wearisome tasks were done
The magic of the star lit skies
Make man and Master one.
- Pauline Sanford, August 1938 (My grandmother)


A Plea for a Break in the Clouds

The gentle light of a distant galaxy
   must needs pour into mine eye
Or I shall wither, bent and twisted,
   fall me down, distraught…to die.

    -Tom Lorenzin July 13, 1985


A New Moon

The silvered thumbnail of an African Goddess
pokes down through the sky and draws taut
the enveloping tent of dusk, a fabric she savors,
and it's sheer lambent azure caresses her skin.
She inhales and her luxuriating stretch pulls
the darkening canvas so hard that tiny holes appear;
the sweat of her passion we call stars.

- Paul S. Walsh


Reflecting Upon Modern Physics

Upon reflection,
I do not appear to be one of the brightly colored bricks of humanity
that float and jostle for space and place about me.
As they inhale and expand,
I am impelled like a hushed and Gleaming Paste of light,
up and down, in and out of their cubic dimensions,
Cartesian and Galactic.
As they exhale, I expand and slow down
to the millimetric crawl of a glacier
and roll, a paste of sensation,
into each and every gritty abrasion.
As I approach infinite slowness,
The dust of their planation cakes to my skin
Their wounds and fissures expand to infinite size
and the observer and the rest is quantumly caressed
in this embrace of Time and Space,
where I am the mason of Touch and Place.

- Paul S. Walsh



All night, this soft rain from the distant past.
No wonder I sometimes waken as a child.

-Ted Kooser
Poet Laureate of the United States of America


The Old Astronomer to his Pupil

Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.

    * Through the Author, Tycho Brahe Speaks *

Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, ‘tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you will have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed at the forlorn.
What for us are all distractions of men’s fellowship and smiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious wiles!
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

   -Sarah Williams


Excerpt from "The Ballad of the Northern Lights"

And the skies were alive with light,
with a throbbing, thrilling flame
Amber and rose and violet,
opal and gold it came.
It swept the sky like a giant scythe,
it quivered back to a wedge;
Argently bright, it cleft the night
with a wavy golden edge.
Pennants of silver waved and streamed,
Lazy banners unfurled;
Sudden splendors of sabers gleamed,
Lightning javelins were hurled.
There in our awe we crouched and saw
With our wild, uplifted eyes
Charge and retire the hosts of fire
In the battlefield of the skies.

  -Robert W. Service


"Shevek in the space ship’s garden" from the Dispossessed

The lights were out there
and it was illuminated only by starlight.
The air was quite cold.
A night-blooming flower from some unimaginable world
had opened among the dark leaves
and was sending out its perfume with patient, unavailing sweetness
to attract some unimaginable moth trillions of miles away,
in a garden on another world circling another star.
The sunlights differ, but there is only one darkness.

    -Ursula K. LeGuin


M 42

The cold nomenclature of astronomy does not properly
illuminate the jewels in the warm blossom of M42
Nowhere between the numerals 4 and 2 can be seen the dark predator’s wings
converging on the innocent young stars nestled in their hydrogen bedding.
Though there are 4 prime jewels and 2 stellar guardians
and 42 discernible tones of cumulus grey and snow and silver
trembling in the view through Galileo’s greatest gift to us all,
the numbers do not calculate the intake of breath, the wiping of night-cold eyes,
the timeless fellowship of countless witnesses to this heavenly masterpiece,
hung with such love in our own personal gallery of nature’s greatest hits.
I would call it trans-mathematical, this failure of Forty-Two,
to resolve from simple numbers, the pleasures of the view.

-Paul S. Walsh

The Vows I Wrote for Our Wedding

I do... for I worship the ground you walk on and the stars you walk beneath.
The light in your eyes tells me that you are the one,
that if there's fun to be had we'll find it
and that I will love you until all the great stories have come to pass,
until the last star has found the last darkness,
and from there, we will make our own light.
You are the woman I choose,
you are the woman of my dreams,
and now and forever, you are my wife.

Some Free-Form Haiku of Particular Interest to s.a.a participants:


600 power.
It sounds too good to be true.
Department store junk.


Unlike the pictures
everything is fuzzy gray;


Particle or wave?
Does it matter to the Blonde?
Don't sell the Corvette.

But, Officer...

Honest, I'm just looking, Sir,
I'm a star voyeur.


Ah, Takahashi.
Color-free, triplet dream scope,
no waiting in line.


Scrolling hieroglyphs
of sci astro amateur,
minds meet in darkness.

TeleVue HaiKue

Al's type five grenade.
Thirty one millimeters
of pure perfection.

All the above haiku copyright Paul S. Walsh

If Hamlet Joined the Amateur Astronomy Newsgroup sci.astro.amateur

To go, or not to go: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The barbs and flames of outrageous threads,
Or to take arms against a sea of threads,
And by cross-posting end them? To lie: to lurk;
No more; and by a killfile to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
newsnet is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To lie, to lurk;
To lurk: perchance to learn: ay, there's the rub;
For in that lurk of death what threads may come
When we have shuffled off this portal web,
Must give us pause: there's the download
That makes calamity of so long winter;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of saa,
The observers wrong, the luddite's contumely,
The pangs of despised goto, the light's delay,
The insolence of Shawn and the Vols
The patient merit of the unworthy pukes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With an LX200? who would tripods bear,
To grunt and sweat under a telrad,
But that the dread of something after dawn,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No stargazer returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those scopes we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus the mafia does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of a bad coating,
And telescopes of great aperture and mount
With this regard, tube currents turn awry,
And lose their resolution.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophiuchus! Nymph, in thy horizons
Be all your stars remember'd.

-Paul S. Walsh



All poems on this page marked as authored by Paul S. Walsh are copyright Paul S. Walsh in the year of their creation