Posted by: John Looker | 16 August, 2009


(After a star-gazing session by the sea in Dorset with Richard, I thought the following poem might be a suitable new entry. Richard can correct any faults in my cosmology.)

Reconstruction of Galileo's telescope. Photograph by Jim Sugar/Corbis, from the Guardian for 25 Aug 2009


It’s hard for us to comprehend the ways
this tube, holding the Lens, must have amazed
its own maker. To learn at last – to see! –
that the moon had mountains; that there would be
rival moons, Jupiter’s, in similar flight;
to find stars like chalk-dust powdered across the night.

For all that, it could have been a cross-bow,
pointed at the heavens and primed to throw
bolt after straight bolt at Man’s certainties.
The sun in earth’s service, the harmonies
of the ‘fixed’ and ‘wandering’ stars, Time, Place, must
all come crashing down, the crystal spheres now mere dust.

From Galileo then to Hubble now,
and a new expanding vision of how
our sun, our star, whirls with the Milky Way
through teeming galaxies. And these decay,
ignite, collide, fuse and form from the mass
of elemental dust and streaming primal gas.

© John S Stevens


  1. This is your best one yet Dad, I love it! It captures the way our expanding knowledge only continues with enduring mystery. xxx


  2. Hi, John. I recently got your comment about one of my poems in my website. I’d like to say it is an honor to have my poetry read by you.
    You mentioned this poem in the comment you wrote me. I have got to tell you I really like this poem. I believe you do have the science to write about nature and its ways.
    I’m glad I came to know your writings. I’ll pay visits to your website very often.
    Let’s keep in touch with each other, ok?
    José Ruy (


    • Thanks José Ruy,
      and I’m glad you like this poem, especially as there are several very haunting and evocative poems about science, the universe, the natural world on your own website. Yes, let’s stay in touch. I’ve bookmarked your site as a favourite to keep track of.
      all the best!


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