comet

comet*

our dad would
tell us his
mother held
him in her
arms i wonder
what sleeves
what frilled
cuffs telling
him that star
out there a
kerosine lamp
in god’s hand
on the dark
of the invercargill
night was
haley’s comet
and he would
remember it
he did
we do

the comet
goes on
us too
i believe
the turn
of a life
in its
years
out and
back

a ‘dad in arms’
i smile
to
see

beijing
october 2011

 

*my father was born in 1906. He remembered his mother holding him on the balcony of their house in Invercargill and telling him that the brilliant star out on the night was ‘Haley’s comet’ and that he would remember this moment his whole life. That must have been the comet-sighting in 1910 meaning he was four at the time. The comet returns every 75 or 76 years, and he passed away in his 76th year.

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