HALLEY’S COMET 1986



Aristotle’s opinion … that comets were nothing else than sublunary vapours or airy meteors … prevailed so far amongst the Greeks, that this sublimest part of astronomy lay altogether neglected; since none could think it worthwhile to observe, and to give an account of the wandering and uncertain paths of vapours floating in the Ether. – Edmond Halley (attrib.)

The second disappointment
after the non-existence
of Father Christmas

Not the fiery
straw broom of Giotto’s
Scrovegni Adoration

as Star of David
stand-in. Nor the
oriflamme

that gave the embroiderers
of Bayeux
permanent squints.

No plagues
of earthquakes beyond
the usual

just a cotton wool bleb
unhurried, crossing the sea-goat
moving into the dawn

scarcely more luminous
than the breaking Pacific
of Patiti Point

even through
Dad’s binoculars. Me
wrapped in a blanket. Eleven.

Screaming star, not.
Scarcely a fragment
of memory, and if I

make it to 2016
before my own
slingshot around the sun

back into the void,

will it matter?

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