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james mcgonigal
Poet  •  Critic

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       space chaplain

through the northern lights my eye caught beams
of bright and dark like the crown of horny rays
the sun makes from a silvered cloud—
                            though luminous these
did not dim the clearness of our target in the Bear
                                                   but rose
radiating slightly out from the earth line

in soft pulses of light
one after another passing upwards
arched in shape but waveringly and with the arch
                                               broken
that seemed to float not following the warp
of the sphere as falling stars appear to do
but free            concentrical

           such busy workings of nature
independent of the earth and stretched in a strain
of time not reckoned by days or years but simpler
as if correcting the preoccupations of the world
by being preoccupied only with         and appealing to
and dated to          the touchdown day of judgment
 

a witness to the Zone that fills me with delightful fear

Click on the poem title to read the next excerpted poem from Turning Over in a Strange Bed.