Eating the Stars

 

ANTIDOTES TO FEAR OF DEATH
by Rebecca Elson

 

born Canada, 1960; died Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1999

astronomer

 

 

 

Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.

 

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Till they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.

 

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:

 

No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
Already there
But unconstrained by form.

 

And sometimes it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:

 

To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.

 

 

 

malczewskideath

Death (1902), oil on canvas,

Jacek Malczewski ,1854–1929, Polish

 Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Warsaw, Poland. Wikimedia Commons. 

Painting from the site of the Eclectic Light Company on WordPress

 

 

 

 

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