DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, what did Asaph and Chloe speak of in their early hours, over breakfast, heads together, the eggs and oatmeal congealing in the bowls, coffee cooling, toast growing cold? Did he mention, in passing, how he had discovered this tiny Martian moon, a mere
eighteen or so kilometers across? Did he mark its triaxial shape with his inkpen upon a napkin, and did she respond by calculating how its mere 27 x 22 x 19 kilometers were equal to 17 x 13 x 12 miles, and did she wonder aloud, if one were standing on the surface of such a tiny world, and gave a great leap, would one escape its gravity and simply keep on going to some far planet of one's own? Did he wonder if a woman in society should avoid education, and concur with the great Doctor Clark of Harvard, whose study concluded that the intellectual development of females would proceed only at the sacrifice of their reproductive organs? When Asaph turned away to butter his cold toast, did she spit in his cold coffee, and go upstairs to stand at the window, looking out?

(NOTE: Asaph Hall discovered the two moons of Mars. Chloe Angeline Stickney, a professor of mathematics, gave up her career when she married him. He had been a student of hers, and he and his classmates made a game of devising questions and problems they were convinced she could never solve, yet she never failed to solve them. After their marriage, when he refused to pay her "a man's wage" for assisting him, she refused to continue her work. Three cheers for Chloe!)


1 comment:

Clifford said...

I enjoy doing that sometimes, trying to picture persons in history as I read about them, and how they interacted with each other.

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1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.