They hastened away to the Northern summer of play and change, where the sun and the rain share the infinite vault of heaven between them; they went off to the innumerable, nameless, clear lakes and to the white summer nights of the North.  They hurried forth to fight and to make love.
-Isak Dinesen

They hastened away to the Northern summer of play and change, where the sun and the rain share the infinite vault of heaven between them; they went off to the innumerable, nameless, clear lakes and to the white summer nights of the North.  They hurried forth to fight and to make love.

-Isak Dinesen

lookslikescience:

The Lovesong of the Selenologist
(ASIDE: This isn’t exactly a “Dear Science” love letter, but it’s in the same spirit.  I’m a planetary scientist who uses radar to study the Earth’s moon.  I wrote this poem at a conference in France.)
My darling moon
    do we forget how we love each other?
Here in the stacks of yellowed paper,
   the collated corpses 
   of past affairs,
   entombed in grey
   magnetic data tape
   like dust on bowing shelves:
   How cluttered we are; how vast.
Do we forget our long nights of conversation
   shouting coded messages, waiting
   for dampened echoes in reply?
Yes, we forget;
   we’re impatient:
   You grow weary of my impulsiveness.
   I delude myself you’ll change.
But I see you, wanton,
   over foreign streets
   on your back or your side,
   suggestively,
   and I know that you’ll follow,
   all my short-lived days:
Be promiscuous, love, when I’ve gone.
- K. S. Martin-Wells (aka Amelie Andrezel)

lookslikescience:

The Lovesong of the Selenologist

(ASIDE: This isn’t exactly a “Dear Science” love letter, but it’s in the same spirit.  I’m a planetary scientist who uses radar to study the Earth’s moon.  I wrote this poem at a conference in France.)

My darling moon

    do we forget how we love each other?

Here in the stacks of yellowed paper,

   the collated corpses 

   of past affairs,

   entombed in grey

   magnetic data tape

   like dust on bowing shelves:

   How cluttered we are; how vast.

Do we forget our long nights of conversation

   shouting coded messages, waiting

   for dampened echoes in reply?

Yes, we forget;

   we’re impatient:

   You grow weary of my impulsiveness.

   I delude myself you’ll change.

But I see you, wanton,

   over foreign streets

   on your back or your side,

   suggestively,

   and I know that you’ll follow,

   all my short-lived days:

Be promiscuous, love, when I’ve gone.

- K. S. Martin-Wells (aka Amelie Andrezel)

NYC #37
Photo by Amelie Andrezel

NYC #37

Photo by Amelie Andrezel

The Rock of Saint Michael

It’s finally done!  I’m sorry I’ve been sooooo slow writing this.  Anyway, I posted the whole thing earlier, but I’ve made some minor changes that might not show up, depending on how you read my posts.  So please check out the permalink to be sure:

http://andrezel.tumblr.com/rockofsaintmichael

I know it’s long for a Tumblr post, but if you enjoy my writing I hope you’ll give it a go anyway.  It’s one of very few fully finished pieces that will make their way to this page.

Anyway, it’s been a long and glum week, so here’s hoping—in the spirit of improving fortune—that this completed project is at least as good as the sum of its parts!

Best,

Amelie

             

(by Amelie Andrezel)


I do not know why there is light, and separately the darkness.

The first cold act of cruel creation was to cleave them from each other’s bosoms, shackling one to the day and the other to the night.  I had always believed the origin of the separation to be a practical one: into the light, God could lead his people; into the darkness were cast the wanderers—the lonely, the proud, and the willfull—those for whom Heaven would spare no regard.

But I am lost and I am found.

I’ve come to a place where the twilight is a riddle; where the sun is risen but also set; where the first of all edicts is dashed on the rocks; where man laughs at God with a gnashing of his teeth.

Why is it there is light, and separately the darkness?

The others from the homestead had gone north, to Newton.  Everything was north of the homestead; that’s what happened when you lived at the bottom of the world.  Whichever way you faced, that way was north.  Perhaps that’s why, in the short years of my life, so many had said I was lacking direction.

But that is an opinion.  There is no time for opinions, now; I will set them aside.

The others were gone and the homestead was lonely; I’d made up my mind to take out the jeep and survey the perimeter.  I have always liked the perimeter.  In my quiet and predictable life—a life of duty and a life of labor, such as it’s been—the perimeter was a wild place, the last outpost of uncertainty.

We knew long nights on the homestead, of course.  There were backup generators to the backup generators, and a heat reserve installed deep in the ground below the base.  But the longest of the long nights only brushed one hundred hours.  Beyond the perimeter lay a world of permanent shadow.  So tall there, were the mountains of the Moon, so low the zenith of the sun on the horizon, that night was as long as recorded history—longer; much longer.

Any notion I had of the cold, there it was colder.  Any impulse I boasted to patience, there slumbered a patience far greater. 

Show me a God who fashioned the Heavens and the Earth, who made the sun to shine and the comets to smolder, and I will show you a land to which He denied these things: one banished to shadow, unexplored and unknown, both to man and to beast.

I drove to the perimeter to mind the equipment and gaze out into the void.

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If I’d been a bird—if wings of metal or wings of bone had any bearing on the Moon—I would have used it as a runway.  I would have sprinted, with whatever strength remained in my legs, toward the edge of the summit and flung myself off.  My wings would have carried me over the black.  I would have circled down over the homestead, a sprig of green olive clutched tightly in my beak.

The ancient Polynesians navigated by bird.

The sky above the Pacific is a mirror, reflecting the deep and fathomless blue of the ocean.  The birds struck out at an angle to the horizon and the Polynesians bobbed below, dragged along like an anchor.  Those fine sailors, with their strong, brown arms and sleek, black hair, would follow the migrating flocks from island to island across the desolate ocean.  But they could not sail with the speed or endurance of the birds, and soon they would be left behind. 

The next year, the sailors would return to the spot they had last seen the flock and wait for them to appear overhead.  In this manner, generation by generation, they crossed the South Seas and discovered Hawaii.  They bound the fury of the ocean in maps; they imprisoned it in a tapestry of islands and stars; they stretched it out on loom of patience and bone. 

I’d fly home in pieces, year after year, progress traced by the stars.  

-Amelie Andrezel, “The Rock of Saint Michael”     

Retro-style cover for “The Rock of Saint Michael”
Design by Amelie Andrezel

Retro-style cover for “The Rock of Saint Michael

Design by Amelie Andrezel

I will do my best to describe what I felt as I ventured into the wild country, but the best I can offer is a pale and hollow approximation.  Any word, by nature, is not a thing in itself but a substitute for a thing.  In the story that follows, I find them particularly lacking. 

Human language is a transplant here.

“Mountain” and “plain” are saturated words; they color the mind with amber ripples and bluish crags.  They were born in fat valleys, mist-wreathed and fertile, pregnant with night and the weight of the sky.  What right do I have to twist them to my purposes?  Can they be forced, by the will of my tongue, over thin, sterile landscapes in opal and grey?

“New” is a word for shoes; “old” for a man with lines on his brow.  When I plant these letters in the dry homestead soil, will they grow to ideas?  Or will they wither, incomprehensible?

-Amelie Andrezel, “The Rock of Saint Michael”

The peaks of the ridges out across the dark valley shone like an archipelago of moonstone, tiny islands in a dark and rising sea. An unseen hand poured a thick, black liquid out of a bottomless pitcher. It crept up the margins, ticking off elevations, animating with bold intimacy that what had been so callously said by the thin, black lines.

In the archive at the homestead, there was a drawer of maps.

Some were like panes of a stained-glass window, or the colorful flash of a bird of paradise, searching for a mate.  They marked, in vivid boundaries, those transitions invisible to our eyes—minerals and cryptomaria, maturity and isostacy.  They were the legacy of a generation of absentee explorers, remote mariners who carved up a country without setting foot on its shores.  Their loyalties were stamped in official letters above the legends; their names lived on in the places they’d most deeply sunk their flags.  

The label on the drawer read “Maps.”  But I had always known: it was a drawer of ghosts.

-Amelie Andrezel, “The Rock of Saint Michael”