The great arc of the zodiac
Bends like the crown of a tree,
Whose branches house, the Greeks discerned,
An animal family.
They spied a lion, a crab, a ram,
Where the Chinese came to see
A monkey, a pig, an ox, a rat…
But if nobody could agree
On anything’s identity,
Neither side lacked for company.
The great ark of the zodiac
Is adrift on an endless sea.
There’s comfort in knowing its cargo can come
To no harm from you and me,
That no storm of human contriving could
Ever reach so far…
The constellations’ great consolations
Lie there: in how distant they are,
And how bright the way they, high and dry,
Shelter in the open sky.
November 18, 2004