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Lay for the Day
16th December

2000: Nasa publishes data sent back by the long-range space probe Galileo which suggests that Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter – the largest moon in our system – has a salty ocean beneath its surface of ice. This is the first discovery of liquid H2O – and therefore of the possibility of life – anywhere other than the home planet.


Clear and impenetrable,
breeder of awe, of sisters
who turn to meet us, running
with outstretched transparent arms
and the songs we name them by,
stream, force, wave, rain and fountain,

we divine ourselves in you,
little mother. Meek, stubborn,
mizzle or Mississippi,
you go your way submitting
to rocks, to a grain of sand,
to nothing, soothing the earth.

Flung back unhurt by yourself
with thunder and big words, bone-
cracking shoves, you bear your slow
and unturnable surges,
you make your exclamations
and whispers sharks and elvers.

Where the king crabs are dancing
their queens, green arms in the gloom,
thought makes the rounds of a drop,
and high chants of geese are joined
with deep ones of whales under
responding swells, the dry moon.


John Gibbens
from Pisces


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar


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