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The New Star

1054 A.D.

July 26, 1054 – The SN 1054 supernova is recorded by the Chinese, Arab and possibly Native Americans, near the star Zeta Tauri. For 23 days it remains bright enough to be seen in daylight. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula (NGC 1952).

I.

Titanium skaters on lakes of metallic hydrogen
Etch constant curves of crystalline
Isotopes of orange uranium
All about the vacant house.

Enigmas of equations
Slide lattices to rest
In beds of powdered strontium,
Molding energy as form suggests.

In the place of flux we find new forms,
For flux-formed spaces enfold
Charms of magnet’s fever
That conduct the core from pole to pole.

II.

The whiteness of Earth’s silences
Are eyes that stare on space.
Orbits chart them ceaselessly,
Etching irises of lace.

The inner of Earth’s outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Painting shadows in the room.

III.

What can the mind of silence hear
Other than a whiteness past revision, past review?

It evolves from epicenters,
Stretches measureless as sound,

Or is seen as the floor of the void
Where the whine of protons stills….

In the drifts of chromium snow,
and gazes on the bones of matter bare.

At times, men in aluminum cloaks
Descend the neutron ladder,

And move in a sleet of particles
Too scintillating for instruments to record.

At times, men in groups descend
Through the smoke of the universe,

To tend the embers, imprison flame.
Their cascading movements sparkle.

We taste the afterimage of events.
Below us, pale and infinitely silent,

The plutonium leaves arabesque
Through radiant silences of solid helium.

IV.

Sometimes it seems I had a dream, and, as a dreamer woke immersed in mineral baths closed within a cool, dark chamber fed by streams flowing in from the center of nowhere.

Hanging from the granite ceiling a kerosene lantern cast shards of light through the pale steam rising from the surface of the pools.

Ripples radiated outwards from the edges of my body and tapping faintly on the rock revealed the edges of the chamber.

Outside I could hear the wind slide across the spine of the mountains, speaking in a language that I remembered but could no longer understand.

Steam filled my nostrils and heat penetrated my bones until, after a time, I had no body, only a sense of silence and distance and calm.

As if I had just woken from all water into dream.

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center,California 1973 — Paradise,
California, 2017

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