23 February 2019

#23 - A Wider Horizon

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin – groundbreaking astrophysicist and first woman to head a department at Harvard University (1900-1979)

While waiting for the rest to reach your height
You graded faith to mark it dubious,
Yet labelled inspiration numinous,
And showed how heavenly bodies talk at night.
Where others trudged in darkness, you saw light;
Where they stayed safe you dared the luminous,
Found early on that Fear kills Curious
And learned to keep achievements out of sight.

But those before you taught resilience
And some fires can’t be hidden – that’s the truth:
The skies blaze messages not of this earth.

They finally unveiled your proper worth;
Soft voices hailed the insight of your youth.
You changed the ways we value brilliance.


Incidentally, the Wikipedia entry is pretty dry – I also recommend looking at quotes attributed to her, for example: here, which last is where the title of the poem comes from.

(And yes: I’ve screwed with the proper rhyme scheme because sod Petrarch I’m a creative, that’s why...)

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