Kepler's Music

By Alexandra Seidel

The science of stars caught in these spheres

cosmic mysteries trapped in Platonic shells:

A truth that he knew bursting from within,

Athena to his Zeus, Athena to his star-struck Zeus.

Some say he read the stars, knew their movement

like black on white, bright syntax on neck-

twisting black, but no: the stars spoke to him,

their distant constellation's lips soft against his ears:

zodiac secrets, birth and death wreathed like

an umbilical around these signs, a life held in between.

In terra inest virtus: and what of Tycho? Every orbit

an ellipse and one of two centers flaringly bright.

Quae Lunam ciet: and yet the moon, stubborn

dog-hearted moon, he causes water to move.

While one stands still, the other swipes out worlds

inside his movements, Mars-whorls on his shoulder,

sighing melodies to a strange giant: so close to the sun,

and yet so far from it in a world where things move

slower. He never slept sleep as others know it;

his eyes blinded shut with night and stars

was the only way for him to hear the light strike

strings, bodies like bells ringing through nothing

just so the sound could resonate within him:

one center, flaring. Bright. A Horus-eye,

wide and staring, surely must have seen:

his mind, A skybound hermit. Yet all things fall

that are on Earth, arrested mass in space, in time.


Alexandra Seidel is a Rhysling-nominated poet, a writer and editor, and a daydreamer cum laude. She rarely reads her horoscope for a skeptic's reasons, but finds Kepler's knack for them a little unsettling. Her poems have appeared in Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, and elsewhere. More of her work can be found in the Strange Horizons archive.

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