I wrote very little poetry in college. However, in the middle of January 2006, a couple of weeks into winter term of my freshman year, I apparently had an impressively productive weekend of poetry writing, with two different poems (admittedly on similar themes) written the same weekend.

According to my notes, the first of these two poems, “Stars”, was also the first thing I’d written in free verse, and I was fairly annoyed with myself for having done so. Perhaps that annoyance explains why I completely forgot I’d written the poem: I was a bit surprised to discover it when I was looking through my old poems for things to post here. I was even more surprised when I found out that this one is a twin to “Moonshine,” written at about the same time and on a similar theme, as that is perhaps my favorite of my poems. Since “Stars” apparently came first, and I was unhappy about its being free verse, I suspect that the inspiration for “Moonshine” may in fact have been specifically wanting to rewrite “Stars” in a form I was more happy with.

In any case, it seems that “Stars” was written while sitting in Avery Courtyard and looking at the sky, waiting for a quizbowl practice to begin.

January 2006 in Pasadena, California

Beyond our puny grasp yet just above our heads,
they march along appointed paths, obeying written laws.
Too far to touch, they remain sterile, lifeless:
unsullied by the plagues that mar the Earth.
      —unsullied by the touch of our unclean hands.

Though we map Orion and we plot his path,
and though we learn the laws that govern him,
no threat from us can make him raise his shield;
no call from us can bring him to turn his head.
      —our death-scream itself will pass him by unheard.

The endless wonders that spread above us in the sky
persist without a care for our thoughts or will.
Is it any wonder we scorn to care for them,
and seek to blot them with our dust and lights?
      —seek to forget what will not yield to our strength?